New Photos Showing How Missing Florida Boys Might Look 15 Years after Disappearance Released as Search Continues

Images showing what two boys who went missing in 2005 might look like now have been released, as the search for them enters its 15th year.

Mark Degner and Bryan Hayes, then aged 12 and 13 respectively, have not been seen since they disappeared from Paxon Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida, in February 2005.

Age progression photos showing what the pair might look like in their late 20s were unveiled at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church in Jacksonville on Sunday.

"This is very important," Darlene Briggs, Degner's grandmother, said during the unveiling.

"It's a very hard year for our family. It never gets any easier. We still pray the same prayers. We still have the same hope and faith from the first day when Mark and Bryan went missing."

Degner and Hayes were both special education students at Paxon Middle School, according to The Charley Project, an online database collecting and profiling thousands of missing persons cold cases in the U.S.

On February 10, 2005, the pair ran out of school at around 1:15 p.m. following an argument with their teacher.

The pair were best friends at the time and reportedly told others of their pans to run away together, with a third boy also planning on going with them.

The day before their disappearance, school officials had prevented the pair from attempting to sneak away from the buses after school had ended.

Degner is believed to have been seen getting into a car outside the school without Hayes.

He was described as being developmentally delayed and as having the emotional development of a child around three to five years younger than his chronological age. He also suffers from bipolar disorder and requires daily medication.

Authorities were aware that Degner had run away from home before, but had only ever gone a few miles and never went missing for more than a day. Hayes had no history of attempting to run away from home or school.

Police suspected foul play after the pair were not seen or heard in the weeks after their disappearance.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's office has been contacted for comment.

During a previous appeal, family members said they still hold out hope that the pair are alive.

"I honestly believe in my heart if Mark and Bryan had the ability and the free will to let us know they are okay, there is not a doubt in my mind they wouldn't do so," Degner's aunt, Angie Campbell, told First Coast News in 2017. "So unfortunately the reality sets in that they are very likely being held against their will."

Anyone with information on Degner's or Hayes' whereabouts is urged to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

Mark Degner
Bryan Hayes (L) and Mark Degner disappeared after running away from Paxon Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida, on February, 2005. National Cenetr for Missing and Expolited Children