KILLEEN, Texas — Jason Forrest would be turning 22 on Aug. 28, 2023, but now, birthday celebrations will never be the same for the Forrest family.
21-year-old Forrest reportedly went missing on Aug. 7, 2023. Nearly three weeks later, his mother, Samantha Forrest, is searching for answers after she says the missing person case wasn't taken seriously until it was too late.
"No matter what happened, no matter when it happened, my son was in a field for 18 days in 108-degree weather and got so badly decomposed that they had to identify him by his teeth," Samantha Forrest said.
Jason Forrest's family says everything was normal leading up to his disappearance. He had just gotten a promotion at his job, was about to buy a house and had a tight-knit relationship with his family.
However, on Aug. 8, Forrest's boss showed up at the family's front door in the morning claiming he did not show up for work.
"That's crazy because Jason worked for that man for the last three, three years," Samantha Forrest added. "He loved his job. He was never gonna screw up that job."
Samantha Forrest knew at that moment that something was wrong.
"I couldn't eat anything," Samantha Forrest said. "I couldn't sleep. I was crying all the time. I started blowing up his phone, and then his phone was going straight to voicemail. That's when we went to the Killeen Police Department."
As several days went on, the Forrest family said there was no sense of urgency with the department. That was until Jason Forrest's grandmother, Suzanne Swanson, emailed the CID commander.
The next day, two supervisors and a detective were all assigned to the case with phone numbers. However, the family was still left with no answers.
"It was like, 'Oh, well, maybe he just took off with some girl, you know,'" Swanson said.
The Forrest family ended up obtaining video evidence from a neighbor. This would be the last time Jason would ever be seen alive.
"At 10:39 p.m., he stepped outside, a black truck pulled up or a dark truck pulled up, and then when the truck pulled away, he was no longer in our driveway," Samantha Forrest said. "Jason's face has been plastered all over social media... for three weeks, and that person still hasn't come forward... Why wouldn't you say? 'Yeah, hey, I know where he was last,' unless you have something to do with his disappearance."
On Sunday, Aug. 27, Killeen Police notified the Forrest family they found a body they believed to be Jason's.
"They're having to positively identify it through dental records, but it was wearing Jason's clothes," Samantha Forrest said in tears. "It had Jason's backpack and Jason's ID."
To this day, the family is still left with questions and is not giving up.
"He was my baby," Samantha Forrest said.
6 News asked about what Jason was like as a son. This is what his mother had to say.
"For Mother's Day, my birthday, every year, he gets me Twizzlers and chocolates," said Samantha Forrest. "This year, because he had a car, he was able to go to the store and actually give me this beautiful bouquet of flowers."
"He would hate that I told this, but I've been telling everybody, a few weeks ago, he asked me to go with him in his car to show him how to drive through the carwash, the automated carwash," Forrest continued. "We went to Mr. Carwash and when we pulled up the attendant you know he said, 'Hey, is this your first time with us?' and Jason said, 'It's my first time in a carwash ever actually.' He was so excited. He was just that kind of person. He was quiet, but he was happy."
The cause of death will be determined when the autopsy report is released Wednesday, Aug. 30.
Killeen Police told 6 News the detective assigned to the case is off on Mondays, the time of writing of this story, but they are hoping to give a statement within the next day.
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