By Donald Wittkowski
For Jen Powell, the disappearance of her son is made even more difficult by the exasperating lack of clues in the case – and the uncertainty of even knowing whether he is dead or alive.
John Weisbecker inexplicably vanished on March 11, 2009, from the house he shared with his mother and sister at 205 Asbury Ave. in Ocean City. A postal worker saw Weisbecker that morning, but no one else has spotted him since then, police said.
As another year passes without any trace of Weisbecker, his mother remains convinced that someone – somewhere – knows something about her son and must come forward to finally give the family closure.
“I just keep praying that one day someone will have a conscience and tells us what is going on,” she said in a phone interview Friday on the eighth anniversary of her son’s disappearance.
“Even if they do it anonymously, it doesn’t matter. I would just like to know what happened,” she continued.
Powell remains heartbroken that her son did not have a chance to fulfill his dream of entering culinary school. Nor did he take part in the family’s milestone events, such as his sister Jordan’s graduation from high school and college and her wedding in 2015.
“He never had a life to get started,” Powell said, fighting back tears.
Weisbecker, a 2006 Ocean City High School graduate, was 21 years old when he went missing. He was 6-foot-2 with brown hair, a mustache and blue eyes and had numerous tattoos on his torso and arms at the time of his disappearance.
Police believe someone else was with Weisbecker at the house. They said there were signs of a struggle inside the home the day he vanished, including overturned furniture. They believe he did not go willingly.
Ocean City Police Capt. Steven Ang acknowledged that authorities do not have any solid clues to pursue and remain baffled about what may have happened to Weisbecker.
“I hate to say it, but I don’t believe we are any closer today – and may be further away – than we were eight years ago,” Ang said.
Despite the dead ends so far, Ocean City police have been working with investigators from the FBI, New Jersey State Police and Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office in hopes of solving what Ang said appears to be a case of foul play.
“We haven’t closed the door on this case,” he said.
Ang noted that investigators conducted hundreds of interviews and follow-up interviews. During the course of their investigation, they did not uncover any activity Weisbecker was involved in that would have caused someone to harm him, he added.
The 200 block of Asbury Avenue where Weisbecker and his family lived appears to be a well-kept neighborhood of comfortable single-family homes and duplexes. Ang said Weisbecker’s disappearance was all the more shocking because his family was part of a close-knit community.
“There is nothing to lead us to believe that people would want to bring harm to him,” Ang said.
Powell, 50, who now lives in Weymouth Township, Atlantic County, left the Asbury Avenue house after her daughter graduated from Ocean City High School in 2010.
She expressed confidence that authorities will never give up investigating her son’s disappearance, but remains frustrated that no one has disclosed vital information in eight, long years.
“I know in my heart that he would not have just left,” she said.
Ocean City police turned to a Facebook page last year to begin soliciting tips about Weisbecker’s disappearance. In addition, a $50,000 reward is being offered for information about his whereabouts.
Information can be reported to the Ocean City Police Department at (609) 399-9111, the Newark office of the FBI at (973) 792-3000, Cape May County Crime Stoppers at (609) 465-2800 or the Cape May County Major Crimes Unit at (609) 465-1135.