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Mother of missing child speaks out while community leader helps with search

“My son is not a runaway. My son is a momma’s boy, was, is, I don’t know how to say it. My son is a momma’s boy and never missed a moment in staying in contact until he disappeared.”
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Posted at 12:26 AM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 00:34:12-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — 13-year-old Jaylen Griffin has gone missing since August 4th, 2020, and his mother won't give up on finding him while a community leader continues to search.

Griffin's mother, Joann Ponzo, says that her son was heading to the grocery store near Broadway and Sears.

"I was lying on my bed. It might have been 10 or 11 in the morning, and my son, as he did every day, say, mom, are you good? I'm about to go to the store. Do you need anything," Jaylen's mother says? "I said no, go ahead. And my son never returned home ever since."

The grieving mother expressed that her son isn't a runaway.

He was 12-years-old during the time of his disappearance.

"My son is not a runaway. My son is a momma's boy, was, is, I don't know how to say it," Ponzo says. "My son is a momma's boy and never missed a moment in staying in contact until he disappeared."

Ponzo says her son had his phone on him at the time, but his phone only works when it's on wifi.

The mother says two days after he vanished without a trace his social media accounts got deleted.

She has received some strange calls on his whereabouts.

"In December of 2021, a female reached out to my daughter saying my son's remains are on the side of the I-90 going to Lackawanna, so I called the police," she says.

Jaylen's cousin believes someone snatched him.

"I personally feel that yes," Tiffany Anderson says. "Who, why, that part I don't know but I feel like yes, with all of the human trafficking yea, I think so."

But the founder of Bury the Violence, Kareema Morris, continues to take extra steps to find Jaylen and others.

She has a visibility campaign to make the public aware of families within the black, brown, and Latino communities still searching for their loved ones.

"My niece went missing and we didn't get help. They told us she was a runaway, the same thing as Jaylen," Morris says. "They told us she was a runaway and when you know your child, you know your child is not a runaway. The character often is pushed off as if they're being grown, and that's not the case."

7 News reached out to Buffalo police to get an update on Jaylen's whereabouts. So far, they haven't responded. However, Jaylen's family is hoping they find him safely so they can celebrate his 14th birthday that's coming up next month.

"There are children to be found and returned home, and it can be you that one share that gets them home," Morris says.

13-year-old Jaylen Griffin:
5'3 and weighs 145 lbs.
Last seen near Broadway and Sears in August of 2020.
If you have any information, please call the confidential Tip Line at 716-847-2255, Buffalo Police at 716-851-4444 and Bury the Violence at 716-703-8771
Link to Missing & Exploited Children.