Trayvon Martin’s father sounded confused and filled with worry when he called Florida police in February to report his son was missing.
“I’m from Miami and my son’s up here with me and he left,” Tracy Martin told a Sanford, Fla., emergency dispatcher when he called to file a report. “He don’t know anybody up here.”
He had no idea his son was already dead, shot by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who has since been charged with second-degree murder, while claiming he was acting in self defense despite the fact that the teen was unarmed.
NBC News on Wednesday posted the audio recordings of Tracy Martin’s concerned call to police as well as that of a dispatcher who called him back a short time later for more information. The network said they got them through a Florida public records request.
The calls shed no new light on what happened on Feb. 26, the night of the killing, but they demonstrate the early seeds of what turned out to be a nightmare for the Martin family.
In them, Tracy Martin tells police his son was wearing khaki shorts, a sweatshirt and “a pair of Jordan tennis shoes” at about 8:30 p.m., when he left his father’s girlfriend’s house, where they were staying that night.
“I have a nephew up here, but he’s not at my nephew’s house,” Tracy Martin said. “He hasn’t been over there either.”
Tracy Martin grew concerned when his son didn’t return home, but he said he wasn’t sure whether he could file a report because it was less than 24 hours later. The dispatcher assured him they were sending out an officer to take the report.
Martin learned a day later that his son had been shot and killed. Since then, the case has drawn international attention after questions were raised about the killing of the unarmed teen.
Ed Note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Tracy Martin found out about his son’s death a day after he reported him missing.
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him: nick [at] talkingpointsmemo.com