It was May 2015 when worried friends reported that Jacob Millison was missing.
It wouldn’t be until August of that year that his family would go to local police in Gunnison County, Colorado, and do the same, according to CBS Denver. His mother, Deborah Sue Rudibaugh, told a local newspaper that her son had disappeared after packing up camping supplies and that she worried Millison had been using drugs.
But Randy Martinez, a friend of the missing man, said he always had a sneaking suspicion that Millison’s family knew something.
“Literally days before he went missing he told us if anything ever happened to him, it was his family,” Martinez told CBS.
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Police say that warning proved true. Millison’s sister Stephanie Jackson was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder and tampering with a corpse, among other charges, according to The Denver Post.
Gunnison County Under Sheriff Mark Mykol said police have a motive for the killing. They say Jackson wanted control of the family ranch and resorted to murder.
“It’s definitely ranch-related,” Mykol told the Post, adding that the property is worth millions. “It’s a beautiful setting. Indian Head Rock is on the property.”
When answers were scarce, some of Millison’s buddies created a Facebook page called “Where is Jake Millison” to make sure he was found. Some of the posts in 2015 questioned actions taken by Rudibaugh and Jackson after he went missing.
One post in October 2015 read: “A buddy that has worked out at the ranch a couple times since Jake’s absence told me the last time he went out about a week or two ago deb said that steph and her had to burn Jake’s mattress because it was filthy, bugs, stains or something another weird action to take?”
Police found Millison’s body last July. Acting on a tip, more than 60 officers searched the 700-acre family ranch that Millison lived on, according to The Denver Post. Officers found human remains on the property, police say, and testing proved that it was Millison.
And police say Jackson didn’t act alone. Rudibaugh was arrested Friday in connection to her son’s death, The Daily Sentinel reported. She faces a charge of first-degree murder after deliberation and other charges such as concealing a death and false reporting.
The mother is held without bond, according to The Daily Sentinel, while Jackson is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail. Police say they know the cause of Millison’s death but have not disclosed it.
There are other suspects in the ongoing investigation, according to the Post.
Martinez told CBS that he’s happy arrests have finally been made in the case. He also credited the “Where is Jake Millison” page with helping his friend to get justice.
“I think there probably would have eventually been an arrest,” he said, “but yeah, I think us keeping in their mind was helpful.”