JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Her 23-year-old son has been missing for a week. His car was recovered in a remote area off McCluer Road after he never showed up at a friend’s house, and a search of those woods that turned up nothing.
Tabitha Bowen said she knows her son Austen Slay has posted about leaving Mississippi for good, about joining his father in Baton Rouge. She understood it could be that law enforcement wasn’t immediately worried about the missing man. It’s not like he’s a child anymore.
But she knew too that once Austen left for a friend’s house just before 11 p.m. last Monday, no one in his family has heard from him again, and that is not at all normal.
“He would not be gone this many days without contacting me, so I know there’s something wrong. He’s in trouble. There’s something wrong,” she said.
For the last week, nobody has seen or heard from Slay. What’s worse, he hasn’t used his phone. He always has his phone, Bowen said.
“He didn’t take any of his clothes, everything he owns is still here. He left out of here with just $40,” she said. “We have his phone records. His dad pays his phone, so we know for a fact that there’s no activity on his phone.”
Then, as they conducted their own investigation, it seemed there was a break in the case.
“His dad went through all the phone numbers and there was one that wouldn’t talk to us," Bowen said. "So his dad got the phone number and from there we went and found a location.”
According to the Canton Police Department, when the Jackson Police Department went to check on that residence, one of the officers remembered Slay’s name. The officer had towed a car registered to him the day before. His father told us Austen would never abandon his car.
Austen’s car had been found in a wooded area off McCluer Road. A resident in the neighborhood allegedly told both of his parents she saw two men leave his car there, but when we went to her home, she denied saying anything and wouldn’t open the door.
Down that gravelly road which turns to dirt were strewn items his dad said came from inside Austen’s car. There were even piles where papers, such as what appeared to be his license and registration, had been burned.
Over the weekend, about 30 volunteers searched the field and the heavily wooded area near where Austen’s car was found, but there was no sign of Austen himself.
“I’m in a tough position. I don’t have any information. I don’t know what to do. I’m just lost,” said Bowen, full of emotion.
Austen’s family is asking anyone who has any information to contact authorities.
“Just be on the lookout. If you’ve know anything, please contact us, if you’ve seen him, if you have any info whatsoever, please let us know,” she said.