Family: Kidnapped teen found dead in home

Witnesses tell authorities Joshua Johnson, 18, was forced into van

Published On: Aug 30 2012 04:28:05 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 17 2012 06:00:56 PM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

The grandmother of a missing teen who was believed to have been kidnapped after a fight in Orlando said police told her that a body found inside a burned home may be her grandson.

The body, which will be identified from dental records, was found Thursday night inside a vacant home at 6709 Meritmoor Circle.  The owner of the home went to check the residence around 7:30 p.m. and made the discovery.  A fire had been set at the home, but it was out by the time the body was found, Orange County deputies said.

The discovery comes a day after Orlando police issued a community-wide bulletin for Joshua Johnson, 18, who disappeared and was possibly kidnapped.

Police said Johnson was last spotted near Wilts Circle and Mable Butler Avenue on Wednesday after he was involved in a fight. Family members searched with police for Johnson that night but couldn't find him.

"I don't know whether he's alive or dead and I'm praying that he's alive," Johnson's grandmother, Patricia Davis, said on Thursday. "I get this bad, gut feeling in my stomach."

Earlier Thursday, Davis called police again because her grandson still hadn't returned home. According to a news release, two witnesses came forward on Thursday and told officers they saw the fight happen but thought it wasn't serious. They said they spotted a tan minivan pull up alongside Jonson, who was forced inside the vehicle.

"Why wouldn't they call the police officer? They told the investigator this morning that they just thought they were playing around. How would you play around when two people are beating on you and throw you in a van and take off with you? I don't understand that at all," said Davis.

Davis said her grandson was returning home from getting a new ID card for school. He was scheduled to start classes on Monday and was putting his life back on track after getting in trouble with the law, Davis said.

"I'm just thinking how could this happen, in the broad day light how could this happen. And no one called the police," Davis said. Davis said she can't understand why no one in her normally busy neighborhood has come forward to help find him.

"If anybody knows anything I wish they would say something," said Davis. "If it wasn't my child and I saw something like that, I would call the police. If I knew anything I would say it."

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.