Thursday, the Cumberland County sheriff's office announced that it is treating the disappearance of Kent Jacobs as a murder.
"Information has been developed which tends to indicate Kent was a victim of a homicide," Sheriff Moose Butler said.
Butler said investigators received a credible tip telling them where to find Jacobs' body and who may have killed him. He said several people may be involved.
The sheriff's office said with the information it has, it does not appear to have been a random crime.
A homicide detective is now in charge of the case.
Jacobs, who has Down Syndrome, disappeared on March 10 after taking a walk near his family's home in Hope Mills.
His sister, Jackie Jacobs, said he never wandered far from home and always came back.
"With Kent, every day was a happy day, every day was filled with joy.This was a very vibrant young person from a family that loved him very, very, very much," Jackie Jacobs said.
Friends, family, strangers and law enforcement have searched for Jacobs since his disappearance.
"Not to allow that family the peace of putting that loved one to rest is a whole other level of insidiousness. What we are dealing with here is the epitome of evil," Jackie Jacobs said.
Authorities have not made any arrests, and said they will not give up until the family has closure.
The family has offered a $15,000 reward in the case and said it plans to start a foundation to help assist families in similar situations.
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