SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The search continues for a Sumter County teen who hasn’t been seen since the day after Christmas.
Jackson “Brent” Garcia was last seen at a relative’s house on Ithica Drive. The Sumter County Sheriff’s Department said he could be in danger based on the amount of time he’s been missing.
Garcia’s mother, Angel Brown, says she hasn’t seen her 18-year-old son since Christmas day. She said he was last seen at his cousins’ house the day after Christmas and their family has been searching for answers.
“It’s been a nightmare,” Brown said. “I’ve had a lot of moments where I’m just not ok. There’s been a lot of sleepless nights and days, and a lot of worry.”
She said her family continues to hope for a good outcome to the search.
“We’re holding out hope that he’s alive somewhere,” Brown said. “But of course I can’t help but to think the worst after 16 weeks of not hearing from him.”
She said the family holds search parties for Brent every weekend.
“We’ve searched by land and horseback,” Brown said. “We’ve had drones, we’ve had people in boats, we’ve searched woods and abandoned houses: anything and everything we could possibly think of.”
Deputy Adrienne Sarvis, a spokesperson for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department, said they are continuing to investigate, but they haven’t received any credible tips about Garcia’s location.
“I wouldn’t say the investigation is at a standstill because we still are following up on information we do receive to make sure it’s credible, checking out locations, and talking to people,” Deputy Sarvis said. “We aren’t exactly at a standstill, but there hasn’t been anything significant to come in to bring us closer to Brent’s location.”
Brown said they aren’t alone in having a loved one go missing in Sumter County and being left without answers.
“We are working on a vigil for all of the missing people,” Brown said. “We have made contact with a lot of the families.”
Deputy Sarvis said the Sheriff’s Department has 15 cases that haven’t been solved. Five of those cases took place in 2012.
“As time goes on the case never closes,” Sarvis said. “It might go cold, but the case doesn’t close until the person is found.”
Deputy Sarvis said they’ve had 365 total missing person cases since 2012, with 10 so far this year.
Brown said her family is pleading for anyone with information on Garcia’s case to come forward.
“There are ways that you can do this and give us some answers so hopefully we can get some sleep at night,” Brown said.
SLED is assisting the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department with the investigation.
If you have any information, you can contact the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department or you can call crime stoppers at 1-888-CRIME SC.