A 15-year-old boy who was missing for more than a year after he saw his father shot and killed was found safe late Monday, Ohio police announced.
Jacob Caldwell was last seen on Aug. 21, 2017, in Sugarcreek Township, less than a week after his father, Robert Caldwell, was murdered.
Police Chief Michael Brown said at a press conference Tuesday morning that officers received a “very credible” tip and searched a local house around midnight Monday., where they found Caldwell living in the basement with four adults upstairs.
Caldwell does not appear to have been held captive, according to authorities.
“His room was in the basement, but he wasn’t locked in there,” Brown said. “There’s no evidence of him being secured or locked in. He could have roamed throughout the house if he wished.”
The four adults, who were alleged “associates” of Caldwell’s mother, were “surprised” to see police at their door, Brown said but cooperated fully.
“He looks okay. He looks healthy. Thin, but he always was thin,” Brown said. “His demeanor fit what we had been told by his dad’s side of the family. Quiet, small for his age.”
Police have been searching for Caldwell since he went missing, including two trips to his grandmother’s house in Kentucky.
“We always felt that he was fine,” Brown said. “We had a feeling, a really strong feeling, that it was a family member that was involved in him being missing.”
Billboards went up in the area last week, which encouraged the tipster to come forward, the police chief said.
Caldwell was taken to Greene County Juvenile Detention Center, where he’s being held on a previous unrelated warrant.
Brown said police are still looking into pressing charges against the four adults in the home where Caldwell was found.
“He wasn’t abducted. He was a runaway,” he said. “We want to go after whoever initiated him taking off that night.”
A $15,000 reward had been offered in March for information about Caldwell’s disappearance.
Robert Caldwell was shot and killed on Aug. 15, 2017, six days before Jacob went missing. According to the Department of Justice, Sterling Roberts cyberstalked Caldwell on his cell phone with the assistance of Tawnney Caldwell, his ex-wife.
The day Caldwell was killed, Roberts allegedly took his illegally owned gun “to stalk and murder” him, according to the DOJ.
Tawnney Caldwell was charged with obstruction of justice for destroying the contents and data of a cell phone in March. She also faces charges of murder and conspiracy to intimidate and threaten witnesses.
Roberts was also charged with murder. Chance Deakin, Christopher Roberts and James Harmon were charged with aiding and abetting the illegal gun possession, and Chandra Harmon was charged with conspiracy to intimidate and threaten witnesses.