Missing in Houston: Questions remain in disappearance of Air Force vet Jared Chavis

Jared Chavis has been missing since January 12, 2018. (Courtesy Jared's family)

Six years have passed since Jared Chavis disappeared on January 12, 2018, under mysterious circumstances, leaving his family searching for answers.

The 19-year-old was last seen in the 9000 block of Westheimer in Houston, entering the back seat of a black Ford Fusion. Witnesses reported an argument ensued, followed by gunshots, but Jared never emerged from the vehicle. His abandoned car was discovered at an apartment complex nearby, leaving questions unanswered.

Recommended Videos

Trying to piece together Jared’s disappearance was frustrating for his father, Willie Smith. These circumstances paint a grim picture, leaving Jared’s family fearing the worst. Their quest for truth faces challenges, including conflicting accounts from Jared’s acquaintances and the family’s feeling that law enforcement has been reluctant rather than actively pursuing the case.

After conflicting reports from Jared’s friends, it was later explained to Willie that the car had reportedly been involved in a robbery and that’s why Jared might be missing. Willie believes Jared wouldn’t intentionally abandon his car, especially after police told his family Jared was supposedly on the run.

“If he was on the run, why would he leave his car? He probably would’ve come back to Louisiana,” Willie explained. “I’m always saying, he would’ve told his mama. Jared would’ve called his mama and told her what was going on.”

Two weeks later, Jared’s credit card was used at a store. Willie attempted to obtain surveillance footage but was unsuccessful. By the time police attempted to get the footage a month later, it had already been erased.

After initially treating the case with skepticism, HPD eventually classified it as a homicide.

Willie said the way HPD handled Jared’s case was mindboggling.

“What made me so upset with them is how much information I was able to get and relay back to them. I was getting information myself to relay back to what was going on like one of the suspects that was involved I found out where he was staying and that he had moved back to Austin,” Willie shared. “At that time, I was becoming a hazard to myself because I didn’t know what I would’ve done to those guys at the time. (HPD) told me to let them do their job. But if they had jumped on the credit card situation and found out who had been using the card, that would have been a big help.”

Originally from Louisiana, Jared had recently relocated to Houston to live with a cousin, pursuing a career in satellite dish installation while studying information technology online.

Trying to find out what happened to his son has been mentally exhausting at times.

“It’s been very tough. My daughter was 13 when he went missing and it’s affecting her, me, all of us. It’s not an easy situation. I remember being in Houston the first week it happened and it being cold as we looked through trashcans. Praying that I won’t see him but at the same time wanting to find him,” Willie explained. “It took a toll on me mentally. I thank God I was able to keep it all together.”

Jared’s son was born after his disappearance and Willie highlighted how his birth has been a blessing in their lives.

“We talk a lot to him on Facetime. He called us the other day and told us he was sad. We were like ‘why are you sad?’ and he said ‘I want to meet my dad, I never got to meet my daddy.’ When he’s saying that to me as a grandfather, I still don’t have the answers for him. And that’s what I’m looking for, answers,” Willie shared. “I still don’t have the answers to what really happened to Jared. I know he’s not with us anymore. But just to be able to tell him what happened to his dad. I tell him his daddy is in heaven looking over him.”

Despite the passage of time, Jared’s family refuses to give up in their search for closure.

“Jared was very, very smart. He was an honor graduate of his high school and played football. When he got out of high school he went into the Air Force. He got a general discharge from the Air Force and that’s when he moved to Houston to study IT and work. He would go to work, call his mom and he didn’t do too much. He had one of those old souls. He would sit and talk with elderly people and just connect with them. He was an all-around great kid. Then that one night he went out with some buddies and it cost him his life.”

Willie expressed his need for answers from the people with Jared the night he went missing. He emphasized that everyone involved will eventually have children, including Jared, and that the situation has deeply impacted Jared’s entire family.

“I don’t know what happened that night, but whatever took place that night we need answers. For no one to come up and say what y’all did or what happened to Jared, it’s got to be a monster to do that. I believe in God and I believe in karma,” he said. “It’s been six years now and all we want is answers or closure.”

With a $10,000 reward offered by Crime Stoppers, they implore anyone with information to come forward and help unravel the mystery surrounding Jared’s disappearance. For those with information, please contact the Houston Police Department at 832-394-1840.

Missing in Houston is a weekly column highlighting people missing from the Houston area. If your loved one is missing email hgalvan@kprc.com.

About the Author

Holly joined the KPRC 2 digital team in March 2024, leveraging her eight years of expertise in blogging and digital content to share her passion for Houston. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring the city's vibrant scenes, all while balancing her roles as a wife and mother to two toddlers.

Recommended Videos