Decomposed Body of a 12-Year-old Boy Found Months after his Mother's Tragic Death

Jaylen's brother was also killed near his home

A deeply saddening missing child case has reached a tragic end with the discovery of 12-year-old Jaylen Griffin's badly decomposed body in an attic. This grim discovery, announced three days after it was made on April 12, signals the end of a four-year search that has deeply saddened the community.

The medical examiner has ruled the death as homicide, but police did not provide further details of the manner or cause.

Jayelen Griffin

Jaylen, aged12, went missing on August 4, 2020, while en route to a grocery store, never returned home. Despite a search campaign, which included flyers and citywide scouring, the whereabouts of the young boy remained a mystery. Tragically, Jaylen's mother, Joann Ponzo, passed away without closure in September, unaware of her son's fate after years of hoping and praying for his safe return.

Joann, aged 48, faced tremendous sadness, especially after her older son was fatally shot just a few months after Jaylen went missing. Her health deteriorated from an unknown illness which friends and loved ones suspect was aggravated by her son's disappearance. Despite her shyness with the media, Joann found solace in attending vigils for Jaylen, where she would release paper lanterns into the sky in his honor, as shared by Kareema Morris, the founder of Bury the Violence

The grim discovery of Jalen's body in a Sheffield Avenue residence, starkly contrasting its surroundings, came as a shock to a maintenance worker who stumbled upon it. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia noted the advanced decomposition of the body, necessitating identification through dental records. Even an age-processed image of Jayden at 15 failed to resonate with Joann, underscoring the agony of a mother unable to recognize her lost child.

Jaylen's heartbreaking conclusion brings immense sadness to his community and sheds light on the ongoing pain felt by families dealing with unsolved disappearances.