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Tip reward increased to $28,000 for teen found dead in Prairie Creek

Posted at 6:20 PM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 08:30:12-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — The reward for anonymous tips about 19-year-old Gage Jackson’s death has increased to $28,000. A boater found Jackson’s body floating in Prairie Creek in Punta Gorda eleven days after he went missing in March.

Charlotte County detectives said if anyone has had any interaction with Jackson, good or bad they need to know.

Trish Routte with Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers said tips could help bring Jackson’s family closure. “His mother, his father, his grandparents are still trying to wrap their heads around what happened, why it happened, and who may or may not have been involved,” she said.

In an interview with Fox 4 when he went missing in March, Jackson’s dad Randy Jackson said he knew something was wrong. “This is crazy,” he said. “You can’t help but think the worst.”

Nearly a week after that interview, a boater found Jackson’s body. Detectives said when they searched the area for evidence they tried tracking down the clothes Jackson was last seen wearing, a gray shirt, jeans and a green Bass Pro hat.

Law enforcement isn’t calling this case a criminal investigation as of now, but Routte said even if it turns into that, Jackson’s family deserves to know the truth. “Imagine if this was somebody that you loved. And not knowing what happened or why it happened,” she said.

RELATED: Police still investigating Punta Gorda teen's death | Family, friends search for missing Punta Gorda teen

Routte said closing this case is best for the public, too. “If something happened to Gage that is putting other people in danger, we need to know about that,” she said.

Fox 4 tried to attain the autopsy report to help shed some light on what happened, but the Charlotte County Medical Examiner’s Office said they can’t release it because of the ongoing investigation.

Katie Heck, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said detectives know the answers are out there. “Our detectives in the investigation as it has progressed so far, are very confident that there are people out there that have information that would be so important to solving the case,” she said.

If you have any information about Jackson’s death you can leave an anonymous tip with Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-780-TIPS.

An anonymous donor is offering a $25,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest, and Crime Stoppers is offering $3,000.

Gage Jackson.jpg
Gage Jackson