Jeff Jacoby Breaks Silence on Teenage Son Caleb Jacoby's Disappearance

Describes Panic — and Thanks Community for Search Help


By Anne Cohen

Published January 22, 2014.
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Jeff Jacoby, the Jewish Boston Globe columnist whose 16-year-old son Caleb went missing for four days in early January, has finally broken his silence.

In his latest column, Jeff Jacoby described his panic and anxiety upon discovering that his child was missing.

”What are you supposed to do when your teenager has been gone for hours — six hours, 12 hours, 24 hours — and hasn’t been seen or heard from? When you’ve called in the police and given them all the information you can think of? When you’ve checked your child’s usual haunts and come up dry? When his friends, realizing that something is wrong, are beginning to sound the alarm on Facebook and Google Chat? And when the temperature outside is in the single digits — and falling?”

The columnist said what saved him, and his wife Laura, was the unexpected and heartfelt concern from friends, the Jewish community of Brookline and even complete strangers, who flooded social media with alerts about the missing 11th grader.

“After more than 25 years of working for newspapers, I figured I knew something about stories that grab public attention. But the intensity of interest in my son’s disappearance was extraordinary. Of course some of that was due to the public following that comes with a regular byline in the Boston Globe. But I wasn’t prepared for the way the news erupted, especially on social media, or how it radiated outward in wider and wider spheres of compassion and concern.”

Maimonides, the Modern Orthodox school in Brookline where Caleb is a student, spearheaded a coordinated search effort involving almost 200 volunteers. Caleb was found on Thursday, January 9, in Times Square in New York City.

The reasons for his disappearance are still unknown, though Brookline police confirmed that the teenager ran away from home, and have ended their investigation.

Jacoby concluded by thanking all those who helped in the search, acknowledging that concern for his son had transcended political allegiances.

“During the worst ordeal of our lives, my family experienced the best that human beings are capable of,” he wrote. “That was a blessing I’ll never forget, or ever cease being grateful for.”


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