Antonio Neill
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A sheriff's office spokesperson says, "We cannot rule out homicide or suicide"

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February 07, 2019 03:30 PM

When police told Jenny Neill about the human foot that had washed ashore on an island off Washington state, she had a sinking feeling: She knew it probably meant her son Antonio Neill, who vanished in 2016 when he was 22, was dead.

“The detective told me the size and make of the boot right when it was found, so I knew when it was a nine-and-a-half Timberland boot, [and] my suspicions were high,” she tells PEOPLE.

Her worst fears were confirmed this week when the Snohomish County Medical Examiner announced that the foot, which was found on Everett’s Jetty Island, belonged to Antonio.

“It has been a nightmare,” she says.

Neill says she last saw her son on Dec. 12, 2016. He had been out of jail for just one day, and he said he had plans to stay overnight at a friend’s house. But he never returned home.

The grieving mom suspects foul play.

“Somebody knows something,” she says. “Somebody needs to come forward.”

Antonio Neill
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The medical examiner and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office have not determined Neill’s cause of death.

“[Investigators] don’t know what happened to Antonio,” Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe tells PEOPLE. “They are keeping all doors open. We cannot rule out homicide or suicide.”

Neill does not believe her son would have killed himself. Though he had suffered from a drug addiction since high school, Jenny describes him as “a very happy guy.”

The foot was found by a passerby who was walking the beach on New Year’s Day. Neill says police contacted her shortly after it was found.

Antonio Neill
Jenny Neill

Acording to KOMO News, there have been 14 feet found around the waters of northern Washington and southern British Columbia in the last 11 years.

Antonio’s foot wasn’t severed, but rather “came off from natural decomp,” Neill says. “The bone wasn’t cut.”

On the day he went missing, she says she took him to get a new driver’s license and a cell phone. Later that evening, a friend picked him up and took him back to his home in Everett, where Antonio planned to stay the night.

Jenny Neill

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When he subsequently failed to contact his mother, Neill knew something was wrong. “My son was such a mama’s boy he never went a day without talking to me,” she says.

Neill says she spoke to the man whose home he went to, who told her Antonio had attacked him and then ran out of the house.

O’Keefe says residents of the home were interviewed by detectives and “through interviews, some of the people have stated that he left the house.”

“There are no suspects currently. Because we don’t know what happened, we essentially can’t have a suspect and a crime,” she says, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

Neill says she won’t stop until she gets answers.

“It is a huge mystery and we are not getting anywhere,” she says. “I need to find out what happened to my baby. I won’t stop until I do.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses for Antonio.

Anyone with information about Antonio Neill’s disappearance is urged to call the Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line 425-388-3845.

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