Family seeks death declaration for man missing seven years
Posted March 10, 2009 9:28 a.m. EDT
Updated March 10, 2009 9:30 a.m. EDT
Hope Mills, N.C. — At the same time that a Cumberland County family said it would move Tuesday to have a missing man declared legally dead, a national advocacy group issued a final plea for information "that will lead us to the remains of Kent Jacobs."
Jacobs, who was mentally challenged, was 42 when he disappeared without a trace from his mother's home on March 10, 2002.
He was last seen in woods near her home, but searchers have never found him, and national publicity has not brought any information that let his family put the case to rest.
"We have accepted that Kent is not coming home and there is a possibility his remains will never be recovered,” his family was quoted as saying in a statement Monday from the missing-persons advocacy group Let's Bring Them Home.
"The family will not hold any more press conferences regarding Kent’s disappearance. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support, devotion, love and prayers over the past seven years," the statement said.
“It is with great sadness that we stand with the family of Kent Jacobs to declare their beloved son and brother legally deceased,” said LaDonna Meredith, president of Let’s Bring Them Home.
In August 2002, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office announced that it was treating Jacobs' disappearance as a murder.
"Information has been developed which tends to indicate Kent was a victim of a homicide," Sheriff Moose Butler said then.
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 body was not found and no arrests were made, however.
Monday, Meredith said, "It is left to you, the citizens of Hope Mills, to stand up and send a clear message to Kent’s abductors and murderers. It is up to you to keep his memory alive by coming forward with the information necessary to bring closure to the Jacobs family. It is up to you to help us find Kent Jacobs. For the next 90 days, Let’s Bring Them Home will offer a dedicated tip-line at 1-866-479-LBTH (5284) for tips that will lead us to the remains of Kent Jacobs. This toll-free, no-cops tip line cannot and will not be traced. We ask that if you have any information that will lead us to the recovery of Kent Jacobs that you call today. You have nothing to lose – and everything to gain by ending this nightmare for the Jacobs family. I urge you to find it in your heart to call today. You are our last hope.”