pictured: GYC Ministries led by Pastor Newkirk and Community Action Coalition WNY at last Friday’s rally for Jaylen (inset bottom right). Street Legacy Photos by Darvin Adams
It’s been seven months. Twelve-year-old Jaylen Griffin was last seen at his home in East Buffalo in August. He has not been seen since. Today, seven months later, his disappearance remains a mystery.
Last Friday, the Community Action Coalition WNY and GYC Ministries held a press conference to bring renewed focus to Jaylen’s plight. Pastor Tim Newkirk of GYC Ministries is no stranger to the case. A friend of the family, he and his organization have been at the forefront of working to bring Jaylen home. Jaylen, according to news sources, was last seen at his home on August 4 and reported missing to Buffalo Police August 9.
He was categorized as a runaway. That never sat right with the family, who insist that Jaylen enjoyed being at home, and was in fact, “a mama’s boy.” In September WGRZ-2 posted a missing person news alert with Jaylen’s photo and numbers for the public to call.
Pastor Newkirk noted that authorities were also contacted in October. In November he preached the funeral for Jaylen’s 18-year old brother who was killed Nov. 23 as he walked from the store on Memorial Drive. Jaylen was said to be close to his brother. Yet Jaylen, who was still missing at the time, failed to show up at the funeral. Pastor Newkirk reached out to the media and in December Spectrum News ran a story citing the family’s grief over the loss of their son as well as Jaylen’s disappearance. Pastor Newkirk was interviewed as well and he renewed his call for help in finding Jaylen.
“The last time anybody saw Jaylen was in December,” recalled Newkirk, “but we have no actual proof.” NewKirk described Jaylen as a typical 12-year-old. “You could always find him near certain stores in the neighborhood where he would hold doors for people for tips.” He wasn’t a kid who would leave home and not come back.”
Police still consider Jaylen an “on going missing person’s case.” He is also listed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Both the national center and local police are asking the public for help in locating the youth.
Pastor Newkirk and his organization are also seeking help from the public and have established a confidential hot line at (716) 770-9093.
He said that they have also organized a ‘boots on the ground’ search team to find Jaylen and will canvass areas where people say he may have last been seen. In addition, he added that they are heavily engaging every social media platform available to get the word out, and information coming in.
Jaylen is described as 5’3” tall weighing 145 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to call the GYC Hotline at (716)770-9093; or the Buffalo Police at (716)853-2222; or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.