Jason Edward Thornton Townsend

1 AP
Left: Jason, circa 1980;
Right: Age-progression to age 34 (circa 2010)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: May 20, 1980 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: October 15, 1976
  • Age: 3 years old
  • Height and Weight: 3'0, 50 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: African-American male. Black hair, brown eyes. Jason's hair was styled in a short Afro at the time of his disappearance.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A green pullover shirt, blue shorts and brown sandals.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Jason's mother, Augusta Townsend Walker, left Jason and his siblings in the care of her boyfriend, Roscoe Pierce, while she worked on May 20, 1980 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Jason was last seen with Pierce in Lauderhill, Florida, later during the day. When his mother returned to the family's apartment that night, Jason was gone. Pierce said he'd wandered off while they were at a nearby convenience store. Walker believed his story and called the police that evening to report Jason missing. By the the next day, however, Walker had become suspicious, particularly after Pierce removed a sheet of blue plastic and two duffel bags from the apartment. She tried to stop him leaving, but he left anyway. Jason has never been heard from again.

    After Walker alerted law enforcement regarding her son's disappearance, investigators learned that Pierce was a fugitive from Syracuse, New York. He had been charged with sexually abusing a young girl and fled from the state some time earlier. While in Florida he had been using the alias name "Emerson Blatch" and Walker knew him by that name.

    Florida authorities located Pierce on May 22, two days after Jason initially vanished. When investigators attempted to question Pierce about the child's case, he reached for an officer's weapon and was shot by law enforcement. Pierce refused to divulge Jason's location before he died later in the day. Jason's case remains open; foul play is suspected due to the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Broward County Sheriff's Office
    954-480-4300

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    The Miami Herald
    Broward County Sheriff's Office
    Florida Department Of Law Enforcement
    The Palm Beach Post
    Florida Today

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated September 21, 2016; details of disappearance updated.

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