‘Jason didn’t deserve this’: What the mother of a murdered Newport teen wants you to know

NEWPORT, Wash. — An emotional vigil in Newport for a 19-year-old who was reported missing, then found murdered. 

Ever since he went missing in mid-September, 19-year-old Jason Fox’s parents held out hope that he was still alive. Their lives were shattered on Sunday when the Sheriff’s Office confirmed a body found in Pend Oreille County was their son. 

“I don’t want to believe it’s true,” said Pepper Fox, Jason’s mom. “I don’t want to believe that he’s gone.” 

Candles lit the faces of those who knew and loved Jason Fox. 

“He wanted to be loved and he wanted to love everyone else.” 

Pepper has lost sleep ever since Jason became a missing person September 16. She drove across the state and has been searching around the town of Newport. On Sunday, the search came to a tragic end. 

Pend Oreille County deputies found Jason’s body a few miles outside of town. Based on evidence, they believe he was murdered. 

“I’ve never felt so much pain,” said Pepper. 

His killer is still out there, and Jason’s mom thinks his murder could be a hate crime. She says her son was gay and often bullied. 

“It didn’t get in the way of him loving him, though,” said Pepper. “I kept telling him, ‘you know what? You’re going to make someone very happy some day, you’re a great companion and he was.’” 

Now instead of looking for Jason, his family is searching for the person who took his life, and changed theirs forever. 

“Jason didn’t deserve this,” said Pepper. 

Word of Jason’s murder is spreading fast in the small town. Jason’s mom hopes that the person responsible, or people who know something, will come forward. If you have any information about his murder, contact the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office.

READ: Remains of missing Newport teen found in Pend Oreille County, homicide investigation underway