In 2016, Aubrey Jayce Carroll disappeared. Fliers went out, police searches were organized, but little trace of the teenager was uncovered. On April 18, 2018, Carroll was found. But where was he? The answer is a fascinating look at disappearances in the modern age, and traveling within hidden subcultures.
The Disappearance of Aubrey Jayce Carroll
On May 24, 2016, Aubrey Jayce Carroll walked out of his Griffin, Georgia high school and disappeared. He was 15 at the time.
There was little in the way of clues as to where he went or with whom. Local officials and the FBI quickly came to the conclusion that Carroll had run away.
The FBI discovered that Carroll stayed with friends for a few days before disappearing completely.
But despite the fact that authorities thought Carroll had run away under his own power, they believed he might have become endangered shortly thereafter. A relative also felt that there was something possibly sinister going on.
Family Suspected He Was in Danger
According to a Facebook post by his great-aunt, Joye Sims Binion, Carroll was last seen on May 26, 2016 after running away due to strict parenting. While she was sure that Carroll might have left on his own, something didn’t seem right.
In the post, Binion detailed a message that was left for Carroll’s grandfather, in which he suggested that he would return someday. But he referred to his grandfather as “Grampa,” as opposed to “Papa.”
According to the great-aunt, this was incredibly odd.
Binion also felt that Carroll’s father might have been searching for his son as a way to throw suspicion off himself for something he might have done.
Carroll’s message to his grandfather also asked for people to take down the missing posters because he was okay. This, too, seemed suspicious, and the hunt continued.
Candlelight vigils were held. Ground searches were conducted.
Despite everything, Carroll was not found.
Aubrey Carroll Found Alive
Nearly two years passed before the public heard any news, but that news was amazing.
On April 18, 2018, the Spalding County Sheriff’s Department posted a video on their Facebook page.
Sheriff Darrell Dix is shown in the video standing beside a young man with shoulder-length hair and a thin beard.
Dix asked him to introduce himself. The young man stepped forward and announced that he was indeed Aubrey Jayce Carroll.
Carroll, now 17, thanked everyone for their concern and for looking after his mom. He assured everyone that he was okay.
According to officials, Carroll was found after the discovery of a Facebook page that seemed to belong to him, but under an assumed name.
They contacted the user and he confirmed that he was Carroll. Officials said that Carroll then contacted his mother and declared he would return home on his own terms.
But where had he been?
A Band of Hippies
Details are still coming in as to what Carroll has been doing since he dropped off the map.
Dix said, “We sat for quite a bit of time with him and listened to his story. His tale was absolutely amazing. He has seen and done things that make your jaw drop.”
We know that, according to Dix, Carroll spent the majority of his time traveling the West Coast and the Midwest. He also fell in with an interesting group of people who subsisted via bartering and cash-only transactions.
According to Dix, the group of people Carroll traveled with looked kind of like modern-day hippies. They moved from state to state, using bartering and cash transactions in order to pay for goods and services.
In a world of plastic, the idea of this system working in North America is rare but not unheard of.
In Portland, Oregon, for example, there is a thriving culture of bartering. People trade work on a field for vegetables; one session in a sensory deprivation tank can be traded for a piece of art.
Could He Be “Joint Vinson?”
As to where specifically Carroll has been, and what he has done, that’s still unknown.
But there may be a little glimpse via the Facebook page of “Joint Vinson,” which is reportedly the Facebook page of Aubrey Carroll that was found by police.
It is unclear if the page has high privacy settings, or if he just doesn’t post much.
But if it is Carroll’s page, we know that he dated while he was gone. The two women attached to him through the Facebook page were from Wyoming and Arkansas.
Above all, it looks like he’s been smiling through his adventures. As he said in the sheriff’s department video, “I’ve been smiling, and y’all should do the same.”