Missing St. Petersburg boy found dead; father arrested on 2 murder counts
An Amber Alert was issued for Taylen Mosley soon after his mother was found dead in her apartment on Thursday.
Family members of Pashun Jeffery, including her mother, LaKita Denson, center, left, and her great aunt Theo Brickhouse-Denson, center, right, gather for a news conference on Friday, where they appealed to the public for information about Jeffery’s 2-year-old son, Taylen Mosley, who has been missing since Jeffery, 20, was found dead in her apartment on Thursday.
Taylen Mosley, the 2-year-old boy who has been missing since his mother’s body was discovered in her apartment Wednesday, was found dead on Friday, St. Petersburg Police chief Anthony Holloway said.
Holloway said an officer found the boy in the clutches of an alligator’s mouth near Dell Holmes Park in St. Petersburg. The officer fired at the alligator and the animal dropped the boy.
Holloway said Taylen’s father, Thomas Mosley, will be arrested on two charges of first-degree murder in connection with Taylen’s death and the killing of the boy’s mother, Pashun Jeffery.
Taylen’s body was found around Lake Maggiore, which is more than 13 miles from the apartment where his mother was killed.
The cause of Taylen’s death was still under investigation pending an autopsy by the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s Office.
Holloway said Mosley stabbed Jeffery multiple times, then went to the hospital Wednesday night with cuts on his arms and hands. He is still at the hospital, and St. Petersburg police plan to arrest him after his discharge.
In a Friday night press conference, Holloway said the heartbreaking end comes with strong emotions for officers who worked long hours. Officers involved are receiving support following the discovery of Taylen’s body, Holloway said.
The St. Petersburg police Chief’s tone was somber at the search’s end.
“It’s very tough for these men and women,” Holloway said. “We didn’t want to find him this way.”
The news comes after an “all hands on deck” search that lasted more than 24 hours. On Friday afternoon while the search pressed on, Taylen’s family asked for help.
The grandmother of Taylen Mosley, the toddler who has been missing since his mother was found dead in a St. Petersburg apartment on Thursday, pleaded through tears: She’d already lost her daughter, who she had FaceTimed with every morning. Now she was begging for help finding the missing 2-year-old.
The boy celebrated his second birthday just 19 days ago.
At a news conference Friday, Lakita Denson stood with other family members who held up large photos of Taylen and his mother, Pashun Jeffery, 20. Jeffery’s great aunt, Theo Brickhouse-Sails, held her arm around Denson to support her.
Taylen’s family nicknamed him “Tay-Tay” and “Glam.” He loves PB&J sandwiches, but hates grits. He loved calling his mother every day when she had breaks from work at her job at CVS.
“Taylen is a beautiful little boy,” Brickhouse-Sails said. “Taylen lost his mommy.”
St. Petersburg Police say Pashun Jeffery, 20, left, was found dead in her St. Petersburg apartment and her 2-year-old son Taylen Mosley is missing.
Jeffery, 20, was found dead in her unit at Lincoln Shores Apartments, 11601 Fourth St. N, about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, St. Petersburg police said. Taylen was missing, prompting authorities to issue an Amber Alert that classified the boy as a “kidnapped child.”
Taylen’s father, Thomas Mosley, 21, is a “person of interest” in Jeffery’s death, police said on Friday.
Mosley is not speaking with detectives, St. Petersburg police Chief Anthony Holloway said at the Friday news conference. Efforts by the Tampa Bay Times to reach Thomas Mosley by phone Friday were unsuccessful.
Holloway also provided an updated timeline of the events leading to Jeffery’s body being found.
Jeffery and Taylen were last seen about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. At about 8:30 that night, a neighbor heard a noise from Jeffery’s apartment, but a St. Petersburg police spokesperson said Thursday that the noise wasn’t “memorable” and the neighbor did not call police.
Between 9 and 9:15 Wednesday night, Thomas Mosley arrived at his mother’s home, Holloway said. Police did not state how far that is from Jeffery’s apartment. Holloway said Thomas Mosley had cuts on his hands and arms, and later went to the hospital.
“The father is a person of interest but nothing in our investigation leads us to believe that he is a victim,” Holloway said.
The family first became worried when Denson made her daily FaceTime call Thursday morning and no one picked up. Later that day, a family member called the property manager at the Lincoln Shores apartment to check on Jeffery and her son.
Jeffery had only lived at the apartment for about a month, her family said.
The door was locked, Holloway said, but the apartment staff member who went in found a “very violent crime scene.”
Holloway did not share information on how Jeffery was killed or if any weapon was recovered.
Crews from Clearwater Fire Rescue, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are assisting in the investigation into Jeffery’s death and search for the toddler.
Members of St. Petersburg Fire Rescue’s dive team search a retention pond behind buildings at the Lincoln Shores Apartments on Friday.
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The search has included using bloodhounds in the woods around the apartment. Dive teams have searched nearby ponds, too. Officials have used drones to check the area from above.
Holloway was not sure how large of an area around the apartment would need to be searched, but he said as of Friday afternoon the perimeter could be about a mile.
“We’re coming up on 24 hours Taylen has been missing,” Holloway said. “We want to find this boy.”
Holloway said St. Petersburg police will ask for volunteers to help with the search on Saturday. Volunteers are asked to meet at 8 a.m. Saturday at a tent in the parking lot of the Winn Dixie at 11100 Fourth St. N, according to a news release from St. Petersburg police.
Officers recommend volunteers wear comfortable shoes, hats and sunscreen and bring water bottles.
A $5,000 reward was being offered for information in the case. Police said people with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS or www.crimestoppersofpinellas.org.
Times Staff writers Natalie Weber and Tony Marrero contributed to this report.
A St. Petersburg Police detective, left, works with a search and rescue canine at the Lincoln Shores Apartments on Friday, where a search continues for 2-year-old Taylen Mosley.