Missing teen found in cellar a year after witnessing murder

Jacob Caldwell, 15, vanished six days after seeing his father shot dead

(Image credit: Natalie Kalata, Twitter)

A teenage boy who vanished after witnessing his father’s murder has been found a year later living in a basement.

Jacob Caldwell was last seen on 21 August last year outside a Walmart supermarket near his grandparents’ home in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio.

He and his brothers had been living with his grandparents since witnessing their mother’s boyfriend gun down their father, Robert Caldwell, in a car park six days earlier.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Jacob had witnessed the shooting, and police speculated that the then-14-year-old had run away as a result of the trauma.

Almost a year to the day after he vanished, the boy has been located, Sugarcreek Township police chief Michael Brown announced yesterday.

In response to a tip-off received shortly after the launch of a new billboard campaign to find Jacob, police descended on a house in nearby Miami Township.

There they found Jacob, now 15, in the basement of the house inhabited by four adults described as friends of the teenager’s mother, Tawnney Caldwell, who is currently awaiting trial for murder. The four may face obstruction of justice charges, ABC reports.

Police said Jacob was in good health, although he is not thought to have attended school or seen friends during the year of his absence, local news station WDTN reports.

Brown told the Dayton Daily News that although “there was no evidence of him being secured or locked in”, it appeared that “he was not outside much” during his absence.

“It appears that all he has been doing for the past year is sitting inside, watching TV and playing video games”.

Lori Cicero, a lawyer representing Jacob’s paternal grandmother, said the family was “overjoyed” to finally discover the boy’s whereabouts.

“We are working in conjunction with the court to ensure that the child’s mental health needs are being addressed with the appropriate professionals,” she added.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.