Unsolved Homicides: Gage Jackson

Ana Fernandez

  March 19, 2019, was a normal day for the Jackson family. 19-year-old Gage Jackson had been working in the days prior and nothing was out of the ordinary; those who saw him that day had no clue what was to come.

   Jackson was a regular teenage boy.  According to his parents and friends, he was a friendly person whose favorite activities included fishing and hunting. He was born on Jan. 18, 2000, and had already graduated high school and lived with a roommate in Punta Gorda, Florida where this story takes place.  

   The teenage boy was last seen on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 11:15 p.m. at his house in Washington Loop. The first couple of days into his disappearance, everyone in his community tried to stay optimistic.

   Shortly after his disappearance, Fox4News interviewed Jackson’s parents while the situation was still ongoing. Randy Jackson (Gage’s dad) states “most of Friday and then Saturday we were running around I was in a decent mood, because I was positive, but after yesterday and last night it’s like it’s just you can’t help but think the worst.”

   Friends and family began searching for Jackson almost immediately. His house was near a wooded area and so his friends and roommate combed through the woods multiple times and even drove around the streets in the hope of finding Jackson and clearing what they hoped to be a misunderstanding.

   However, their worst fears were confirmed when Jackson’s body was found on March 30, 2019,  in Prairie Creek by some boaters 11 days after he was last seen. The community was shattered, and fear spread as many began to fear for their own safety.

   Forensic crime scene investigators were called in immediately to examine the scene. In an interview with CourtTV, Jennifer Shen (a retired Crime Lab Director for the San Diego police department) stated that the nature of the crime scene made it very hard to extract any evidence. Shen explained that investigators typically search for any foreign items or possible causes of death when examining the crime scene and body.

   Although the water has degraded the amount of evidence left behind, the Charlotte County police department has held their evidence closely. This is a common strategy used by investigators so they can weed out false confessions since they have not made all the evidence available to the public. 

   In 2021, a $103,000 cash reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Jackson’s murderer was offered by an anonymous donor. Jackson’s case frightens many in the community as they fear whoever committed this sinister act still roams their streets today.

   Any information or tips regarding Gage Jackson’s case can be sent to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s department or the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8477.

   Official website: https://ccsoblog.org/2019/04/03/body-identified/