EVERETT, Wash. -- It’s been nearly three years since a young Everett man disappeared, leaving behind a mystery that’s haunted and puzzled many. A disturbing discovery proved his family’s worst fears, but all this time later, detectives still have very little to go off of. They say this is a cold case they desperately need your help to solve.
It was 12 days before Christmas in 2016 when 22-year-old Antonio Neill said goodbye to his mother and went to a home in Everett with a friend.
“I never went a day without talking to Antonio,” says his mother Jenny.
When her son, her only child, didn’t come home the next day, Jenny says she just knew. Her worst fears were only heightened after she heard from some people who were with Antonio the night before. They told her Antonio had gotten into a fight with another young man before seemingly disappearing from the home.
No one ever heard from Antonio again. There was no trace of him, until 2 years later.
This is where the case takes a strange and tragic twist. This past New Years Day, people walking the shore on Jetty Island in Everett made a horrifying discovery: Antonio’s foot. It was still in his shoe, a shoe his mother recognized immediately.
“The boot was faded from the salt water, it looked more brown. And I said that’s his boot...then they showed me his sock. I was like ‘That’s his sock. I watched him put them on that day.’”
The discovery meant Jenny at least had confirmation her son was no longer alive. But only having a piece of him unearthed a whole new pain that she struggled to put into words.
“He’s not complete. It’s awful. I need to know where he is. I know he’s probably in the river...I don’t know if we’ll ever find him.”
There was no visible trauma on Antonio’s decomposed foot, but the discovery officially meant he was no longer missing. Detectives classified his death as suspicious. They say there isn’t enough information to classify it as a homicide.
“At this point, we don’t have any evidence besides that, and we don’t know what happened to Antonio,” said Courtney O’Keefe with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department.
Antonio’s mother agrees there are still many unknowns, but she’s suspected foul play from the start. She says she needs justice, but more than anything, she needs to find the rest of her son.
“I want to find him more than I want to find out who did this...I need him complete.”
The Snohomish River is huge, and Jenny believes having a specific spot could possibly help narrow the search.
“Just tell us where to look...it kills everybody, every day.”
Detectives want to emphasize any little bit of information could crack the case wide open. They say it’s been a long time since they’ve gotten any leads, and they need your help to change that. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for up to $1,000 for information on this case. To submit a tip, go to www.P3Tips.com, call 1-800-222-Tips or use the P3 Tips app on your cell phone.