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Family, friends search for missing Punta Gorda teen

Posted at 12:00 AM, Mar 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-25 00:00:52-04

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Randy Jackson fought tears back as he thought about his 19-year-old son Gage Jackson who’s been missing since Tuesday. He said Gage likes to hunt, fish and it’s not hard for him to make a friend.

“He’s very likable. Everybody in this area knows Gage. Everybody,” he said.

Friends and family are working with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office to find him, but with no luck so far, Jackson said his hope is starting to fade.

“Most of Friday and Saturday we were running around I was in a decent mood. I was positive. But after yesterday and last night, you can’t help but think the worst,” he said.

Jackson’s roommate Matt Ahrens last saw him Tuesday night when he got dropped off at home after working a double shift at Peace River Seafood and then picked up again. Ahrens told Jackson’s parents something was wrong when he didn’t show up for work or come home the next day.

His mom Heather Jackson said she doesn’t think her son simply ran away.

“I think something has to be wrong. Seriously wrong. Like I tell everybody, I’m not a negative person, but for him not to contact us knowing all the effort they we’ve put forth trying to find him,” she said. “Somebody picked him up. Whoever that person is has to know something.”

Ahrens and Jackson’s parents along with friends have been handing out flyers in hopes of finding him. They’ve looked for him near his job and even searched in the woods near his home. Ahrens said he won’t give up until they do.

“He’s like a brother to me. I love the kid,” he said. “I can’t sleep. I got like probably 20 hours of sleep since Tuesday.”

Jackson’s dad said his coworkers told him when he left work Tuesday he was wearing a bright green hat, a white t-shirt, blue jeans and white rubber boots. He said he could also be in the Arcadia area. His dad said they’ll keep searching and keep their phones close until they find him.

“We just need to know he’s fine. He’s good. He’s healthy. He’s safe. He’s alive,” he said.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said they’re urging anyone with information about where Jackson could be to reach out to their office at 941-639-2101.