Local News

Mother of Hope Mills man missing 10 years: 'You never give up hope'

Posted March 9, 2012
Updated September 10, 2012

Kent Jacobs was last seen about two miles from his mother's Hope Mills home on March 10, 2002.

— Volunteer search teams combed the rural Cumberland County landscape Friday, trying once more to look for the remains of a mentally handicapped man who disappeared a decade ago.

The searchers and dog tracking team returned to a stretch of U.S. Highway 301 in Hope Mills, hoping to close the case of Kent Jacobs' disappearance. They searched an area off Hulon Street and Brooklyn Circle, where Jacobs was last seen.

Saturday marks 10 years since the 42-year-old disappeared after leaving his mother's house in Hope Mills. Although an adult, Jacobs had the mental capacity of a 9-year-old, according to his family. His remains have not been found and no arrests have been made.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office still has an open investigation into his disappearance. A detective said Friday that they've gotten some leads recently, but nothing solid so far.

The Jacobs family is still hoping to find answers and get closure.

"I don’t care if it’s 10 years, which it will be, or 50 – you never give up hope," said Martha Jacobs, Kent Jacobs' mother.

Jackie Jacobs said she never imagined she'd still be searching for her brother after a decade.

"We are as committed today as we were 10 years ago to Kent," she said.

The lead detective for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office and other deputies were on hand Friday to help volunteers with the non-profit group "Tomorrow May Come K-9 Search and Rescue." Five volunteers were on hand with three dogs.

"Everybody deserves the chance to come home. I don’t care if it’s a day, a week, a month (or) 20 years," said Chris Sayre, who leads the K-9 team. "I have to say it’s all because of God. We’re not here because we have anything better than anybody else. We’re here because it’s what we’re meant to do ... Realistically, do I expect to find (Jacobs)? That's up to God."

The group's dogs have a good track record. In the past two years, they have recovered two bodies and evidence from crime scenes. They found Harold Brewington, 43, of Hope Mills, in a Robeson County swamp in February. They also found the body of a missing kayaker on the Little River near Spring Lake in October.

"When someone comes up and tells you they’re willing to continue to reach out for your son, that means the world to me," Martha Jacobs said.


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  • just cause Mar 9, 2012

    This makes my heart hurt as I also have someone in my family who suffers from an intellectual/developmental disability. I can't imagine...... Sending prayers and positive energy to all involved in the search. Hopefully someone will have some kind of information and the teams will find a lead to help find him (whatever wonderful teams agree to continue to search). I ditto the comments about who cares who finds whom....really, not appropriate on the board, if you have problems with the report, please contact WRAL directly. These types of comments are just silliness and petty compared to the intent and reaching out of the story, which I very much appreciated.

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Mar 9, 2012

    I do hope you find him.'
    Thinking of you.

  • carroln Mar 9, 2012

    who cares who finds them as long as their found!!! quit complaining and start helping to find them.

  • leo-nc Mar 9, 2012

    Properly trained Cadaver dogs can find human remains decades after someone has disappeared. My only issue with this group is that they claim to have found the missing kayaker on Little River when in actuality it was another group using side scan sonar along with divers who found him caught against a strainer...and even then, it was because the river had gone down. There are major issues with search groups both self deploying without requests from law enforcement, and groups who claim to have found people they didn't actually find.

  • LordHelpUsAll Mar 9, 2012

    I hope they find him. Closure is so important. Good luck guys!

  • shortcake53 Mar 9, 2012

    I cant imagine what they could find after 10 years. I hate that the family has to go through this, but I just dont see answers suddenly popping up. My best to all of them.

  • sunneyone2 Mar 9, 2012

    I hope they find something. How awful to not know for ten years.
    But what prompted a search now after all this time?

  • leo-nc Mar 9, 2012

    They claim to have found the missing kayaker on the little river last year but in reality the guy was caught in brush in an area where their dogs couldn't even get to. Side Scan sonar from another team and military members found that man. I'd be very wary of this group.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Mar 9, 2012

    This is sad. I hope for closure for the family as well.

  • unknowndreams05 Mar 9, 2012

    Hopefully they will find something to give this family some closure. So sad.