Details of Disappearance Tristen moved to Roseboro, North Carolina in August 2000 to live with his great-aunt and great-uncle. He wandered away from his family's residence on October 5, 2000 while his great-aunt was napping and has never been heard from again. Tristen was accompanied by his dogs Sasha, a black Doberman puppy, and Buck, a tan three-legged Chihuahua mix, at the time of his disappearance.
An extensive search was conducted in a ten-acre section of wooded land near Tristen's home shortly after his disappearance. No evidence concerning his whereabouts was located and the search was scaled down on October 10, five days after he was last seen.
Buck returned to Tristen's house later that day and the search was resumed, but authorities were unable to locate the child. Sasha walked back to the house on October 14. Neither dog showed any signs of having been in the woods. Tristen never returned.
Tristen's great-aunt and great-uncle say he was angry and disruptive while he lived with them. He hit other children and bit and scratched himself. He attacked and killed one of their dogs eleven days prior to his disappearance, and was taken to a psychiatric hospital to undergo a battery of tests. Doctors found that Tristen was emotionally and physically underdeveloped, but they were unable to do a complete evaluation of him as he could not seem to understand simple directions and could speak only a few words.
Three days after being released from the hospital, Tristen wandered away from his guardians' home. A neighbor found him half a mile away at a farm and returned him. Three days after that, he vanished for the final time.
Tristen was born in Mississippi, the child of a fifteen-year-old mother and an unknown father. His mother was later killed in a car accident in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Tristen's grandparents originally had custody of him, but he was sent to live with other relatives after his grandfather ran over him with a car in a drunk driving accident. A year later he went to live with his great-aunt and great-uncle. He disappeared from there.
Authorities believe Tristen was probably either abducted by a stranger, or fell into a pond and drowned. His case remains unsolved.
- Sampson County Sheriff's Office
Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 14, 2016; age-progression updated.