Local News

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

Posted March 9, 2012 4:01 a.m. EST
Updated September 10, 2012 7:51 p.m. EDT

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.