The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information that leads to the recovery of John T. Weisbecker.
An Ocean City, NJ family is making another appeal to the public for help finding John, 21-year-old man, who disappeared from his north-end home March 1, 2009.
John Weisbecker asked his mother, Jennifer Powell, to pick up some new shirts for his seasonal job that was to begin the next day.
A few hours later, at about 11 a.m., a postal carrier saw Weisbecker when he delivered the day’s mail, including Weisbecker’s unemployment check.
Powell tried to call her son at about noon from her job in Vineland but his cell phone went straight to voicemail. When she came home at about 8:30 p.m. after work and a trip to the store, he was gone.
His car, a Lincoln LS, was parked outside. His unemployment check was sitting in an uncharacteristically messy pile of mail on the counter. The kitchen stools seemed pushed out of place, too. But nothing else in the home hinted at anything out of the ordinary, Powell said. By midnight, when he still had not returned, Powell called police.
In the months that have passed, neither the family nor police have been able to determine what happened to the 2006 Ocean City High School graduate.
“It’s like he vanished off the face of the Earth, but people just don’t do that,” his mother said. “It’s like living in a nightmare.”
Police in Ocean City reached out for help from the New Jersey State Police and the FBI, which brought their missing-persons expertise to bear on the case. Weisbecker’s DNA and physical description were entered into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
Detectives in Ocean City work the case every day, Lt. Steven Ang said.
“We’re retracing our steps, going back over everything we’ve done from Day One,” Ang said. “We re-interviewed some people. We try to make sure we haven’t missed anything or overlooked anything from the beginning.”
But police have been equally frustrated in finding answers.
“It’s hard to believe an individual could vanish in Ocean City from that location in broad daylight and nobody saw him or has information about who he went with. Someone has something they’re not telling,” Ang said. “There is someone out there who knows. We just don’t know who.”
Weisbecker apparently had his wallet and cell phone when he left the Second Street house. But he has not used the phone. His car was repossessed in the months after his disappearance.
He has not taken money out of two bank accounts or used his credit card.
Powell calls his cell phone every day, only to get voicemail.
“I’m hoping for the best but I keep going to the worst,” she said.
Powell said her son did not appear at all depressed or suicidal in the days before he disappeared. He was looking forward to returning to his seasonal job at a local restaurant. He had friends and enjoyed playing video games and watching movies. He talked about going to culinary school.
Standing 6 feet tall, it seems unlikely anyone could overpower him, Powell said. When he left the house, he probably did so willingly with someone he knew, she said.
Whenever he went somewhere, it was by car. He would even drive to the convenience store a few blocks from his house.
Powell talked to all of her neighbors, including employees at the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation, but nobody said they saw anything that day. The side door of the family’s north-end home is not visible from the street.
Powell said she wishes her son’s friends would stay in closer contact with her. In the meantime, she and police are asking witnesses to come forward.
Weisbecker has brown hair and a mustache and was last seen wearing dark jeans, “ES” brand sneakers and a T-shirt with the word “seedless” on the front. He has tattoos on both arms and his torso. Ocean City police can be reached at 609-399-9111.
“Someone has to know what happened to him. For a mother’s peace of mind, there are anonymous ways to let me know. Please, let me know,” she said.