Body of 12-year-old who vanished in 2020 after taking puppy for a walk, found in attic - Krime with Kissy
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Body of 12-year-old who vanished in 2020 after taking puppy for a walk, found in attic


Body of 12-year-old who vanished in 2020 after taking puppy for a walk, found in attic

I’m about to tell you a sad story.

BUFFALO, N.Y.  — The body of a 12-year-old boy who vanished in 2020 was found in an attic last week.

On Aug. 4, 2020, Jaylen Griffin disappeared, while walking his dog to a neighborhood store to get snacks on a hot summer’s day.

His body was found April 12 in the attic of a four-unit apartment home, located at 107 Sheffield Avenue; roughly five miles from where he was last seen. (Most people can walk 5 miles in 75-100 minutes or so) Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia called the discovery “an absolute tragedy.”

Three months after Jaylen vanished, his 18-year-old brother was shot and killed across the street from the family’s home.

Griffin’s mother unexpectedly died last year in September, six-and-a-half months before her son’s remains were found in a stranger’s attic; never knowing what happened to her son.

Health issues coupled with the impossible grief of losing both of her sons, 48-year-old Joann Ponzo passed away.

“She died of a broken heart. She never recovered from it,” close family friend and spokesperson Pastor Tim Newkirk told HNGN during an interview Thursday.

“We knew the relationship that Jaylen had with his family, his mother,” said Newkirk. “That’s her baby.”

Jaylen’s case went cold, with law enforcement classifying him as a runaway. It wasn’t until Friday, nearly four years after loved ones last saw him, that his decomposed remains were found by a maintenance worker servicing a home..

He was identified through dental records. His death was ruled a homicide, and a cause of death remains under investigation.

During Jaylen’s mother last days on this earth, her mother’s intuition told her he was murdered.

While taking her final breaths at Sisters of Charity Hospital, Joann devastatingly admitted she had a feeling her youngest son – a soft-spoken, young man who had dreams of becoming an entertainer – was dead. Jaylen’s 18-year-old brother, Jawaan, was shot to death across the street from their home, just three months after Jaylen went missing, and she could no longer deal with the heartbreak of losing her two boys.

“She said, ‘I think my son (Jaylen) is gone. And I still want confirmation. I want to see my son laid to rest, properly,'” Newkirk recalled of his final conversation at Joann’s hospital bedside. “She said, ‘Don’t stop searching for my son.'”

According to Erie County records obtained by Scripps News Buffalo, the home where Griffin’s body was found is owned by Sunrise West LLC. In an active lawsuit filed in 2022, a neighbor claims that a tenant of the unit threw pieces of a burnt mattress out the window, causing more than $130,000 of damage to the neighbor’s home.

Sunrise West LLC. and Spectrum Health & Human Services are also being sued in that lawsuit. The neighbor and their attorney claim Spectrum Health & Human Services was “negligent, careless, and/or reckless” in vetting tenants for the apartment home.

According to Spectrum Health & Human Services; website, the organization has a supportive adult housing program that “caters to high-need, high-risk individuals with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse issues.”

Spectrum Health & Human Services would not comment if the home was ever utilized by Spectrum. However, a spokesperson did say they are cooperating with police in the homicide investigation of Griffin.

Multiple neighbors 7 News spoke to said there have been issues stemming from that home for years.

“Probably about a year or two ago I was walking my son down the street and one of the ladies living in residence at the time chased me down with a bat,” said a neighbor who did not want to be named. “I don’t feel safe in my own house.”

Another neighbor told 7 News that she has received alerts that registered sex offenders have lived in 107 Sheffield. 7 News found records to confirm that one of those individuals was booked in jail just last month on a new sex charge.

In the meantime, Buffalo Police are continuing to investigate who is responsible for Griffin’s death. On Wednesday blue and green balloons, and candles were outside the home.

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