The hunt for a missing toddler sparked when his mother was found murdered has ended in further tragedy as the little boy was also found dead—clamped in an alligator’s jaws.
A search for 2-year-old Taylen Mosley was launched on Thursday afternoon with a state-wide Amber Alert issued after the body of his mother Pashun Jeffery, 20, was discovered at their apartment in St. Petersburg, Florida. She had been brutally killed on Wednesday night, with police describing a “very violent” murder scene, but there was no sign of her son.
Detectives now believe that 21-year-old Thomas Mosley murdered his own child along with the boy’s mother, and he has been charged with the first-degree murder of both. St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway told a press conference held on Friday night. “We are sorry it has had to end this way.”
Sniffer dogs, drones, and search teams had been deployed to try and find the missing child. Officers who had been searching Lake Maggiore a few miles away from his home spotted an alligator “with an object in its mouth,” the chief revealed. Horrifyingly, they soon realized it was a toddler, and an officer fired a shot at the reptile, who dropped the body. “We were able to retrieve Taylen’s body intact,” the chief said. The alligator was later euthanized.
#stpetepd Chief Holloway said It’s with great sadness that we report we found the body of Taylen Mosley in Lake Maggiore. His father Thomas Mosley is charged with 2 counts of 1st degree murder. pic.twitter.com/I1hsIj0UAw
— St. Pete Police (@StPetePD) April 1, 2023
The cause of death for Taylen has not yet been revealed and it remains unclear whether the alligator played a role in his passing. Jeffery had been repeatedly stabbed, according to local news channel NBC Miami.
Thomas Mosley is currently hospitalized with cuts on his hands and arms and “is not talking to us,” Holloway said. It is unclear how Mosley sustained the injuries, with police not yet revealing how they occurred.
Jeffery, who worked at a CVS store according to NBC Miami, was last seen alive with her son outside their Lincoln Shores apartment on 4th Street North at around 5:20 p.m. on Wednesday. Neighbors subsequently revealed they heard a commotion at the home later that evening, at around 8:30 p.m., but did not alert the authorities at that time.
Jeffery’s mother became concerned when she was unable to reach her daughter on Thursday, and asked the apartment’s manager to check on her and her grandson at around 2:30 p.m. That was when the alarm was raised and the search for the little boy began alongside a homicide investigation into the death of his mother.
The pair had reportedly only moved into the apartment complex about a month ago. Thomas Mosley is not believed to have lived there with them.
Mosley went to his mother’s house at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday with the cuts on his arms and hands, Holloway said, and he later admitted himself to a local hospital, where he remained as the search for his son continued.
On Friday morning, St. Petersburg Police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez told Newsweek: “Detectives followed up leads overnight, but have not located the child. We have a fresh team now canvassing the apartment complex. We requested the Fire Department dive team to search the nearby ponds. The father of the toddler is a person of interest, but does not have the child.”
Newsweek has reached out to the police department for further information and comment following the sad conclusion to the search.
According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), some 600,000 people go missing in the U.S. every year.
Sadly, many of those missing people are very young. While some searches end happily when the children are found safe and well, such as the case of six missing siblings who were found in Tennessee last March, others end in tragedy, such as the hunt for missing Athena Brownfield.
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