BUFFALO, N.Y. — The search for 14-year-old Jaylen Griffin started nearly two years ago. The teen’s face has been on fliers and a billboard along the Kensington Expressway but despite those efforts to raise awareness since leaving home back in August 2020 – Jaylen has still not returned.
Jaylen was last seen in Buffalo's Broadway Fillmore neighborhood and his case is listed in the National Registry for Missing and Exploited Children.
His family and supporters have worked tirelessly to bring him home and on Friday launched a new campaign to find him and bring him back to his mother, Joann Ponzo.
"I just want my son back," Ponzo said.
Ponzo has been through a lot over the past two years. After Jaylen went missing, his older brother was shot and killed a few months later. Through both tragedies, Ponzo said she's received a lot of pity but only really wants answers and people to be honest.
“I got people calling me saying give me money I'll get your son back people calling and telling me my son is dead, I've got people calling and saying my son is all over the place, frustrated is not the word, it's just ugh,” said Ponzo.
Ponzo’s search has received a lot of support and on Friday Pastor Tim Newkirk of God’s Young Children Ministries and Pastor Charles Walker of Mt. Hope Church announced a new partnership with Liberty Cab Company on Kenmore Avenue.
Pastor Walker said Liberty Cab owner Bill Yuhnke has agreed to outfit all 150 vehicles in their fleet with fliers of Jaylen as they continue to search for his whereabouts. Missing person’s information will also be displayed on each cab kiosk.
The hope is that drivers like Labetton Thornton could get a tip from any of the hundreds of riders they transport every month.
“I’ve never seen nobody doing anything like this, I've seen billboards for missing children but not in the cabs so I think Mr. Yuhnke is setting a new trend,” said Thornton.
“You never know who may see him or where but we just want to make sure it's available everywhere these men and women drive they will see a picture of Jaylen Griffin,” Pastor Walker said.
Jaylen will be the first missing child featured by Liberty Cab, but both Pastor Walker and Newkirk want to eventually help find other missing Buffalo kids too.
“This is a call for humanity this is a call for justice it could be your kid it could be anybody's kid,” Pastor Tim Newkirk said.
If you've seen Jaylen Griffin or have information that could lead to his whereabouts you are asked to call (716) 770-9093 or call 911 immediately.