Authorities have expanded the search for a missing four year old boy on Monday afternoon, as no new leads have emerged.
More than 50 officers have canvassed homes near where the boy was last seen, according to Baton Rouge Police.
The FBI, EBR Sheriff’s Office and Center for Missing and Exploited Children are all involved in the search, said Sgt. Mary Ann Godawa, a BRPD spokeswoman.
Jassiah Clark was last seen around sundown on Saturday near his home on Robertson Avenue, family have said. Police were notified by 11pm, Godawa said.
“I’m desperate,” said Jassiah’s aunt Lesly Reed. “I need my nephew here.”
Baton Rouge Police will release an update on the search later this afternoon.
A 4-year-old Baton Rouge boy has been missing since Saturday afternoon, placing new strain on his family still mourning the deaths of two men close to the child who killed each other in an argument only one month ago.
Jassiah Clark was last seen by his mother about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, near their Robertson Avenue home, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman. He added that police are still following different leads and have not yet released a narrative of where Jassiah may have gone.
As the sun set Sunday, about 20 of the boy’s family members and friends walked up and down Robertson Avenue. A Baton Rouge Police K-9 unit also aided in the search.
“I just want him to come home,” said the boy’s mother, Brittni Clark.
But the boy, whose disappearance has been heartbreaking for his family, already was a witness to another heartbreaking event. The boy’s uncle and mother’s boyfriend killed each other after a drunken argument in the front yard of the home where they lived, family members have said. The boy and his 10-year-old brother were only feet away.
In that tragedy, Lester Reed, 32, stabbed 19-year-old Tevin Crump, who then shot Reed in the chest outside a home on Washington Court on Nov. 23. As Reed fell to the ground with a bullet in his torso, Crump stood over Reed and tried to shoot him again — even as a knife protruded from his chest, family members have said.
But the gun jammed, and moments later, Crump fell to the ground just feet from Reed, and the two died shortly thereafter — Crump at the scene and Reed at a hospital.
Jassiah, along with his 10-year-old brother, were outside the home just feet away when the argument broke out, two family members said. He had been living at the home with his mother for a few weeks leading up to the incident.
Jassiah was deeply affected by what he saw. In the weeks since the shooting and right up to his disappearance, Jassiah cried every day and told his mother that he missed his uncle. Though other family members still mourned both men every day, they did their best not to bring it up to Jassiah, said the boy’s aunt Lesly Reed.
“That’s hard for an adult to fathom an uncle and stepfather (being) killed before your eyes,” Brittni Clark said of her son. “But for a 4-year-old … that’s crazy.”
Clark has been especially hard-hit after the deaths — her boyfriend and her brother were the two men involved in the double slaying. And when she got the news, she was in Parish Prison, where she had been jailed three days earlier. Police say she and another woman stole at least $7,000 from an elderly man’s bank account while working as the man’s caretakers, according to a police report. She was released on bond three days after her family members died.
Clark said the last 24 hours have been horrible.
“I’m numb,” Clark said of the events of the past month. “I’m very numb. I can’t really feel because I just don’t understand why everything has just fallen down on me all at once. It hurts so bad.”
There are conflicting accounts as to where Jassiah was last seen. While police say Jassiah’s mother last saw him at their home close to 12:30 p.m., family members say Jassiah was playing with boys in the street several hours later, close to sundown, about 5:30 p.m. Those boys then saw Jassiah wander north alone on Robertson Avenue and then make a left turn near Denham Street, according to Jassiah’s neighbor Terri Burris, whose 10-year-old son plays with Jassiah often. The boys didn’t think much of his wandering because they all regularly walked from one end of the street to the other, Burris’ son added.
Shortly after the boys were playing, a neighbor saw Jassiah walking alone near a canal that runs roughly alongside Robertson Avenue, family members said.
Jassiah was wearing Levi’s shorts, a Hornets jacket and Adidas tennis shoes with black, red and blue on them, according to police. He is 3 feet tall and weighs 40 pounds. Jassiah’s mother described him as a fun-loving kid who likes to ride bikes and play football and who enjoys making s’mores for his aunt Lesly Reed.
“It’s like one thing after another,” Reed said. “All we can do is hope we overcome it all.”
Anyone with information about Jassiah’s disappearance can call BRPD at (225) 389-3853 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.
Follow Daniel Bethencourt on Twitter, @_dbethencourt.