JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala (WIAT) — Four years later, a Fairfield teenage boy’s disappearance remains a mystery.
Fifteen-year-old Jason Sims Jr. was reported missing in 2015, but detectives said they think he’s been missing longer than that.
If Jason Sims Jr. is alive today, he is 19 years old. No one can say where he is or even more strange, if he actually existed.
Jason Sims Jr.’s father, or alleged-father, is awaiting his trial date this year and facing a felony charge for failure to report a missing child.
Still, no one knows where Jason is, how long he has actually been missing, or if he has ever been missing.
It’s believed Jason Sims Jr. used to live in a home on 59th Street in Fairfield.
All passersby can see is overgrown weeds and broken glass, but it used to be the home to a family. Now, it holds a mystery.
Neighbors said they still find the story questionable.
“It reminds me of the case. Everybody and I want to know answers too like really what happened because it’s a bizarre case,” said Rashaud Dedrick, who lives on 59th Street in Fairfield.
Neighbors said the story had them concerned, especially knowing their neighbor, Jason Sims Sr., is a prime suspect.
“What happened? What did he do? We knew he left when police came and never returned. He left everything. If you look in the house now, everything is still there like someone just left,” said Carl, a neighbor on 59th Street.
The only proof that Jason Sims Jr. existed is a birth certificate and a picture. There are no school records, no long medical records, even though he was 15 when reported missing.
He also is reported to have been autistic and non-verbal.
“No one knew the child. You see a child, but the father didn’t interact with neighbors at all. He would just come and go. Nobody particularly liked him. He wasn’t a pleasant person,” said Carl.
Jason Sims Sr’s lawyer, Edward Reynolds, said his client is frustrated because he says Jason Sr. is not the father, even though the name of the two makes you think differently.
“The child was basically given his name, but they have never been able to show he is the biological of father. There is a birth certificate in file, but he’s not listed on that birth certificate as the father,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds goes on to say Jason Sr. claims the only time he saw this child, or a child, was when DHR requested to see all of Natasha Wright’s children, the mother of Jason Sims Jr.
The detective on the case said he wants answers and thinks Jason Sr. knows something.
“He’s not afraid to go to trial over this case because he’s assured me and said before look ‘I’m not guilty of anything’. They offered a misdemeanor to settle the case and he wouldn’t take it because he said he is not going to plead guilty for something he is not guilty of,” said Reynolds.
Even if Jason Sr. gets more time in jail for this, that doesn’t answer the question: Where is Jason Sims Jr.?
Because there are only a few photos of him, an age-progressionist had to step in. Craig Shook, a special agent with ALEA, remembers making the boy’s photo.
“One of the most challenging things when you’re at this age–which I think the last picture was 16 to 17– only progressing 3 years. There’s not going to be a whole lot that changes but things do change like the mouth gets wider, frown lines get deeper older you get,” said Shook.
There’s a digitally progressed photo of what Jason Jr. would look like today, if anyone saw him.
He’s listed on ALEA’s missing children website page, but a missing child alert never went out.
“That’s a bit of a challenge for us because the child has been missing for so long, and initially we weren’t notified that he was missing, so right now that child is listed missing on our website, but an alert is really designed for when it’s fairly recent to get people to look for him right away,” said Jay Moseley, the director of Alabama Fusion Center.
Attorney Reynolds asks the question that some are wondering.
“We don’t know if this child exists and I say this because I’m not sure if the child exists. There’s still some doubt in my mind if the child actually exists,” said Reynolds.
The lead detective said the mother, Natasha Wright, is cooperating and doesn’t know where he went, but assures authorities that Jason Sims Jr. was very real.
But with hardly any historical record of this child, it’s not easy for detectives to do their job. A lead detective said it’s possible we may never know what happened.
Jason Sims Sr. is set to go to trial in September.
Reynolds claims his client is not the father and therefore is not responsible for reporting a missing child who he claims he barely knew or saw.
If you have any information about Jason Sims Jr, you’re ask to call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.