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Tacoma police looking for 2 boys missing since Wednesday evening

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on Aug. 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm with 22 Comments »
August 16, 2012 10:47 pm

Tacoma police are looking for Jeffery A. Zupan, 11, and Zabian T. Welcome, 9, who were last seen about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

They left Welcome’s home in the 5400 block of South Cedar Street, where they had been playing, Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.

“They were together and there was a little confrontation, disagreement with (a female caregiver), which apparently upset them and they both took off,” Fulghum said.

Both boys have apparently run away before, though not for as long or together, Fulghum said.
“With the temperatures being in the 90s (Thursday), it’s just time to get them back and get everybody reunited,” Fulghum said.

The two boys frequent Wapato Park and Skip Vaughn Park, police said.

Zupan is described as 4 feet, 9 inches and 85 pounds. He was last seen wearing khaki shorts, a colorful shirt and black hightops.

Welcome is described as 4 foot, 1 inch and 75 pounds. He was last seen wearing dark blue shorts.

“She always kept a very close eye on him and he was always in the

yard,” said neighbor Britni Benavidez of Welcome’s aunt. Benavidez
said she would sometimes watch the boy as he played with her siblings. ”Something is up, because he would always come back.”

Her mother, Dena Kotowski, said the children in the area frequently play with each other. Her eight-year-old son and Welcome are friends, she said.

“It’s a really good, quiet street. All the kids play together,” Kotowski said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Tacoma police at (253) 798-4722.

Jeffery A. Zupan
Zabian T. Welcome
Leave a comment Comments → 22
  1. takhoman says:

    Amber alert in the works?

  2. prairiegirl says:

    Was very surprised to just get a phone call from ‘Pierce County’ about these boys. Why wasn’t an Amber Alert out? Even if they’ve taken off before, they are so young.

  3. cclngthr says:

    Something apparently is going on in their lives (disruptions/dydfunctional) which is prompting them to run off more than once. This issue needs further investigation.

  4. skippythedog says:

    I used to run away from home and never returned…..till dinner time.

  5. PTGranny says:

    I also received that call…hopefully everything comes out okay in the end!!

  6. MelissaD322 says:

    I saw these boys last night and spoke to them. They were headed east on S. Tac. Way about 6:15. I was worried for their safety and called 911 and asked that someone come and check on them. They rode their bike out in front of me, I nearly hit them. I’ve called the non-emergency line now that I have seen this article and am waiting for an officer to contact me. Praying these boys are found.

  7. prairiegirl says:

    Melissa. South Tacoma Way runs North/South. Better get your story straight.

  8. tacomalaurie says:

    “Better get your story straight?” In fact, part of S. Tacoma Way does run East/West, as you come around toward downtown. And even if MelissaD322 was mistaken about the direction, is it really necessary to respond that way? Just seems a little uncalled for. For the life of me, I don’t understand commenters that have to get all snarky over the most trivial things when the underlying issues are actually pretty serious.

  9. South Tacoma way turns east just above 35th street, runs under I16 and next to I5 heading towards downtown. Check a map.

  10. MelissaD322 says:

    In fact it was East on S. Tac. Way and it was just under highway 16 where I encountered them and they went all the way to M street before I lost sight of them. So thanks for you kind remarks. By the way, I have a couple pictures of them that I snapped with my cell phone in hopes of showing the responding officer what a dangerous situation it was — no officer responded. They remain on my cell phone.

  11. veterannurse says:

    Thank you for being a concerned citizen MelissaD. prairiegirl…Google is a beautiful thing. Next time you should use it before posting your snarky remarks.

  12. puyallupbaby says:

    everyone always wants an amber alert issued. the fact is, certain criteria have to be met. you can find them listed on the amber alert website or a simple google search of “amber alert requirements.” police have not confirmed an abduction, so there will be no amber alert.

  13. redstepchild says:

    Must not be too concerned about finding the boys if they havent contacted the lady back who saw them.. just saying.

  14. Regfool2 says:

    redstepchild – if you’d listened to the police scanner last night, you’d have heard TPD racing from one “sighting” to another of these boys all over the city, along with responding to all the other calls that came in. If you personally KNEW any officers, I think you’d find that they’d probably like to drop everything else and just look for these kids. Of course, then citizens would be upset about not having their problems addressed right away. I actually heard a call some weeks back from a woman whose son wouldn’t get off the computer. She called 911. They get stupid calls like that every day. And they have to arrive at every call, even the stupid ones, and be polite, and professional or the citizen will call administration and complain about their rudeness. Very few people actually have a clue about being an officer at the street level. They can’t win — the public is on ‘em, administration’s on ‘em, and their lives are at risk every moment. Walk in their shoes before you make judgments about them.

  15. SJ_Gaston says:

    Melissad322- I have passed along what you said here and on the page to my cousin, who is Zabians mother, and she immediately called the lead investigator and let them know. Thank you for being a good citizen about this, and thank you for leaving the pictures on your cell phone. Hopefully, the investigators working on finding the boys get a hold of you soon. If you have anymore information, please contact me at with the info, and I will immediately pass it on to my cousin. Please everyone, pray that we find the boys safe and sound.

  16. Ohhappyday says:

    @melissad322… I also passed along the info that you had to Detective Johnson. I was listening to my scanner when your call came in for an officer to respond to that area. Thank you for taking pictures of them. To an average person that would seem strange. At the time no one knew that they would end up missing. You may have the last picture that we have to go by. Hope they are found safe .

  17. hansgruber says:

    Amber Alert?

    These are runaways, not kidnapped children. There is no vehicle involved, no suspects, just runaways.

    Until more real information develops, an Amber Alert was not designed for runaways.

  18. blackops says:

    Regfool how many of those reported sightings had pictures of the kids on their cellphone?

  19. Melissa D is my niece and always has a child’s best interest in mind. She would never make up anything such as what she has posted here and has a true concern for the safety of these boys. I hope they find them safe and then ground them for the next year or so for causing so much alarm and stress. The area my niece saw them in is not a good place for anyone-especially children- to be day or night. I pray for their safety and safe return.

  20. Ortingmom says:

    It is now Friday, any updates? I pray for the boys safety and safe return home

  21. rampoloparent says:

    Praying they are found quickly and are ok

  22. prairiegirl says:

    Wow!!! I was not being snarky at all. And actually I was laying in bed last night thinking of these boys and relized So. Tacoma Way does veer East!!! So I apologize to everyone I obviously offended.
    I just thought if she called them and didn’t even know for certain where she saw them, they’d discount her statement. Which it sounds like they did anyway. But honestly, I was impressed by Melissas actions. I too, was very concerned for these boys.

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