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Family renews effort to find missing Hope Mills man

Family and friends of a Cumberland County man missing for the past eight years are renewing efforts to find him.

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HOPE MILLS, N.C. — Family and friends of a Cumberland County man missing for the past eight years are renewing efforts to find him.

Kent Jacobs, who has a disability that left him with the mental capacity of a 9-year-old, was 42 when he disappeared from a Hope Mills neighborhood about 2 miles from his mother's home on March 10, 2002.

"Each and every day, I think of Kent. It never leaves my mind. It never leaves my mind about my son," said his mother, Martha Jacobs. "It's hard when I come home because I pass my son's room every day, and it's just like it was the day he left it."

Kent Jacobs was last seen near Brooklyn Circle and Hulan Street, the neighborhood where he lived as a child, authorities said.

Searches through the area, including some nearby woods, turned up nothing. Billboards and fundraisers generated countless tips, but Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler said the leads turned into dead ends.

"We've heard that on many occasions – 'I know something' – and it turned out to be nothing," Butler said.

The sheriff recently assigned a new detective, Nan Trogdon, to provide a fresh look at the case, which is the oldest unsolved missing persons case in Cumberland County.

“We feel like this is kind of a new start, so to speak, investigating any leads that would come in now,” Butler said. “It’s just another new thrust, hoping that someone will step up and say we have some information to help you resolve this case.”

About five months after Kent Jacobs' disappearance, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office began treating the case as a homicide.

"We follow up on leads until we can't follow up on them any longer, and then we backtrack to start at the next point," Trogdon said.

Family members began posting yard signs around Hope Mills over the weekend. The signs say, "Kent Jacobs Is Still Missing. What Have You Heard?"

"People might think, 'Well, why is she continuing doing this?' It's because I'm a mother," Martha Jacobs said.

She said she prays every day for a break in the case and urged people to come forward with any information.

“If someone would just drop some type of a hint. Some type of a hint would be better than nothing,” she said. "If I have closure for Kent, then at least I'll know where he's at and I can put him to rest."



Bryan Mims, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Matthew Burns, Web Editor
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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