Details of Disappearance Byers was last seen on the north side of Youngstown, Ohio on July 11, 1989. He was standing on a street corner with friends when a white man driving a compact car drove up and asked where he could buy some crack. Shortly thereafter, when Byers and his friends reached another corner, a gray and black Jeep Cherokee or Ford Bronco with Florida license plates, driven by the same man, drove up.
The driver and his passenger, described as a blond man in his mid-twenties, jumped out, pistol-whipped Byers, sprayed him with Mace, and threw him in the back of the vehicle. They drove away. Byers has never been heard from again.
Gerald Zuppo Sr. and Gerald "Jerry" Zuppo Jr., who are father and son, were arrested and charged with kidnapping a few days later. Police don't think the kidnapping was hate crime; they believe the Zuppos abducted Byers because he had robbed Jerry earlier and stolen a gold chain from him.
In June 1989, as the jury was being selected for their trials, both Gerald and Jerry pleaded no contest to kidnapping. They were sentenced to five to twenty-five years in prison each.
Byers has never been located, but police believe he's deceased because of the passage of time since his disappearance, and because his parents said he would have contacted them if he could have.
- Youngstown Police Department
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 17, 2018; casefile added.