Vigil Held for Jahi Turner, Missing Since 2002

Two-year-old Jahi Turner allegedly disappeared from a playground in Golden Hill 10 years ago, and his case has never been solved

By Monica Garske and Mari Payton
|  Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012  |  Updated 6:47 PM PDT
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Vigil Held for Jahi Turner, Missing Since 2002

NBCSanDiego

A candlelight vigil is being held Wednesday evening in Golden Hill in honor of Jahi Turner, a two-year-old boy who mysteriously disappeared in 2002.

A candlelight vigil will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Golden Hill for a boy who went missing exactly 10 years ago in San Diego.

On April 25, 2002, two-year-old Jahi Turner allegedly disappeared from a playground located at 28th Street and Cedar Street in Golden Hill.

One decade later, police still have no concrete details on the case or what exactly happened to Jahi on that mysterious day.

Tonight, the toddler’s disappearance is touching San Diegans once again, as crowds gather for a candlelight vigil and moment of spiritual solidarity to remember little Jahi at the very same spot in Golden Hill where he went missing.

In 2002, police and hundreds of volunteers spent weeks searching for traces of Jahi and witnesses who might have seen him.

According to police, the boy’s stepfather, Tieray Jones, told police he was with the toddler at the park when he left to get a drink. Jones said he returned 15 minutes later and Jahi was gone.

At the time of the child’s disappearance, Jahi’s mother, Tameka Jones, was deployed aboard the USS Rushmore.

A huge search for Jahi ensued, including a week-long police search of the Miramar Landfill where authorities raked through 5,000 tons of garbage, but came up with nothing.

Private investigator Bill Garcia helped in the hunt for Jahi 10 years ago and still has many unanswered questions.

“I witnessed the search and rescue, I witnessed the dogs. All of it was negative to Jahi even being here at the park,” said Garcia.

Jahi’s stepdad was a person of interest in the disappearance, but was never charged.

“Mr. Jones was interviewed many times very thoroughly we were never able to develop additional evidence that would lead us to believe he was the suspect or make an arrest,” said Ernie Herbert of the San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit.

Jahi’s family eventually moved to Frederick, Maryland.

As part of NBC 7 Investigates, NBC 7 San Diego tried reaching out to the family this week for a comment on the decade-old case, but we were unable to reach them.

According to investigators, they also have had no contact with any of the boy’s family for the past several years.

According to the Frederick News Post, the local newspaper, the boy’s stepdad, Tieray Jones, has been involved in several crimes from 2000 to 2010.

Charges include second degree murder. He also served five years in prison for first-degree assault.

Today, more than $50,000 is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest in this case. Jahi’s case is featured on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website.

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