Aspen Jeter, a 5-year-old girl went missing on Thanksgiving after her mother Crystal Jumper (46) was found dead. Crystal’s body was discovered at their South Carolina residence.
Authorities found Crystal Jumper’s remains in the house when they visited for a welfare check on Thanksgiving Day.
Aspen Jeter was found in Virginia on Friday with her father Antar Antonio Jeter (46). Police have confirmed that Aspen is safe, and that Antar is charged with the murder of Crystal.
Aspen Jeter was found safe in Virginia with her father Antar Jeter
Five-year-old Aspen Jeter was reported missing after her mother Crystal Jumper was found dead. She was fatally shot, and Antar Jeter, the father, is the prime suspect. After the child was reported missing on Thanksgiving, police believed that she would be with her father.
The family of Aspen Jeter had requested and pleaded with her father to return her safely. They said,
“No one wants to see anything bad happen.”
Attorney Justin Bamberg, who was hired by Crystal Jumper’s family said on behalf of the family,
“Mr. Jeter I want you to know if you are watching, if you see any articles, if you happen to see a newspaper or anything, that we are here to help, No one wants to see anything bad happen, we really want to know that both you and Aspen are OK.”
The family was more concerned about Aspen’s safety as she was suffering from a rare neurological disorder. She could not speak and had difficulty moving on her own.
Bamberg also said,
“Aspen is not able to talk. She is not able to move on her own, so if you were to spot her, oftentimes she is either being carried by a parent or she is being pushed in a stroller. She is not going to be able to speak to you.”
Crystal’s brother Pauley Jumper also gave a similar statement saying,
“She’s not able to walk, she can’t talk. So just everybody prays that we get her home.”
Steph Ball-Mitchell, Crystal Jumper’s friend told WLTX,
“She is just such a beautiful child. It was really special to watch Aspen grow and change.”
She also added,
“She definitely needs medical care, so we want to get her picture out there. If anyone’s seen her, we definitely want people to call and let us know where you’ve seen her.”
Police confirmed that Aspen’s mother Crystal died of a single gunshot. They also mentioned that Crystal is believed to have been dead for a few weeks prior to family members discovering her body. According to officials, Crystal’s body was found at an “advanced stage of decomposition.” According to one of Crystal's cousins, Antar was staying at her place due to some electricity issues at his house.
Police said that the father-daughter duo was spotted in Fayetteville, North Carolina on November 30 in a blue 2015 Mazda 6 that Antar stole from the murder scene.
On Thursday, December 8, police tracked Antar Jeter down through electronic financial transactions. Around 1 pm local time, he was found in the parking lot of a hospital in Danville, Virginia, along with his daughter Aspen Jeter.
Antar was immediately arrested and they took custody of 5-year-old Aspen. On December 9, 2022, a murder warrant was issued in Antar’s name in connection to his wife’s death.
The family wants to keep Aspen with them, and not hand her over to child services
Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell described the arrest of Antar and finding the little girl as an “early Christmas present” for him. This case gained mass attention when 46-year-old Crystal was discovered dead from a gunshot, and her daughter and husband were nowhere to be found.
Speaking about the arrest, Justin Bamberg said,
“We can't thank you enough. It's a joyous moment, but it's a sad moment as well.”
He further continued,
“Aspen will not become a ward of the state. We’re going to make sure that she’s with family.”
Several groups were formed on Facebook to look for Aspen. Members shared whatever information they could that would have led the authorities to the five-year-old. Melanie Yvarra from Kentucky, who runs one of these groups said,
“I think one thing about this case that grabbed my attention was that she [Aspen Jeter] is disabled and nonverbal. I can only imagine the confusion of this little girl, and not being able to express herself verbally what her thoughts were during this time.”
Melanie further added that she was relieved that the authorities had spotted Aspen and that she was coming home. She said,
“I'm just very happy, and it was just a relief that they had found her and she's okay.”
As of Friday, December 9, 2022, both Aspen Jeter and her father Antar are still in Virginia. Law enforcement officials are trying to get them back to South Carolina as soon as possible.
According to the lawyer, they are trying their level best to keep Aspen Jeter with her family in South Carolina and keep her away from Child Protection Services.