Missing pregnant teen's family holds onto hope she's still alive

Iyana Sawyer last seen Dec. 19 leaving Terry Parker High School

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A member of Iyana Sawyer's extended family says they are holding out hope that the 16-year-old, who has been missing for nearly two months, is still alive.

This news comes two days after sources said the family was told the pregnant teenager probably died the day she disappeared.

Sawyer's uncle, Jonathan Quiles, is in the Duval County jail on unrelated sexual battery charges, but police said he is a suspect in her pregnancy and disappearance.

News4Jax has learned that authorities have a conversation clandestinely recorded of Quiles and an unknown person that his defense lawyer has received as evidence in his sexual assault case. We don’t know who the recorded conversation was with or when it took place, but court records referred to it as a controlled call, meaning a warrant was issued to record the call.

A member of Sawyer's family who wants to remain anonymous said her family is doing as well as they possibly can under the circumstances.

"I don’t have any direct signs or information to say she isn’t or is (alive)," the family member said Wednesday. "The only thing I’m concerned with is the fact that she’s six months pregnant, and knowing a mother-to-be, what’s necessary for her to carry this child."

Sawyer never came home from Terry Parker High School on Dec. 19 and has not been seen since. Her family said she was a straight-A student. While she was five months pregnant at the time, a close family friend said she was happy and seemed prepared for her baby. 

The family’s attorney, John Phillips, tweeted on Monday, "Please keep Iyana’s family in your prayers.”

"I would just say: Pay attention to your surroundings, as far as anything or anyone you see that may resemble her or anything like that. If something looks strange, don’t leave anything unturned or whatever," the family member said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office searched the Otis Road landfill near Baldwin for more than two weeks, looking for evidence in Sawyer's disappearance. They have not provided any information on what they’ve found.

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