An arrest warrant has been issued for a military veteran who had been granted time to have surgery before he was scheduled to plead guilty last week to sex crimes involving a 14-year-old girl.
But some think he’s dead because authorities found his dinghy boat abandoned and drifting about a mile off shore near Orange Beach, Alabama.
“We got the call about 7 a.m. on July 30 that there was a boat drifting and they couldn’t tell if anyone was on it,” Orange Beach Investigator Trent Johnson said Tuesday. “Marine units found the boat, found the note on it, and based on what we saw, we thought there might be a suicide.”
But after a seven-day search by air and water for missing Army veteran Jacob Blair Scott, 41, of Moss Point, the Alabama authorities and the Coast Guard suspended the search. That was Aug. 7.
“It is uncommon for us to not have a body with the length of time that has gone by, but it has happened,” Johnson said, adding there was no evidence to suggest Scott had been the victim of a homicide as well.
The investigation remains open.
Judge issues arrest warrant
The same day the search ended for Scott, Jackson County Judge Kathy King Jackson issued the Aug. 7 arrest warrant for him.
He had failed to show up for a status hearing in his criminal case, and he was set to enter his guilty pleas three days later.
Scott is facing a possible life sentence following his indictment on nine counts of sexual battery against a minor, four counts of touching of a minor for lustful purposes, and one count of child exploitation (filming the girl simulating sex).
The crimes occurred, court records say, between Nov. 1, 2016, and Feb. 28, 2017.
In June, the judge granted Scott time to have treatment for stage 3 ulcerative colitis before he pleaded guilty.
A note and an abandoned boat
After Alabama authorities found Scott’s note and the the dinghy, they called the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to report the information and ask them to get in contact with Scott’s family to let them know what was going on.
Scott was still nowhere to be found.
The Sun Herald began to look into the case and reached out to District Attorney Tony Lawrence after rumors began to swirl around Jackson County and on social media about whether Scott had died.
In response, Lawrence said, “There is an ongoing investigation by multiple agencies and I can’t discuss any further details at this time.”
One of Scott’s former co-workers at Chevron wrote to the Sun Herald to ask about his whereabouts, and others reached out to ask for an update in the case.
The Sun Herald contacted Scott’s attorney, Rufus Alldredge, to find out what was going on, but Alldredge said he could not comment.
A matter of competency
Before Scott was to enter his guilty pleas, he underwent a mental health evaluation to confirm his competency.
His attorney asked for the evaluation because Scott suffered a traumatic brain injury during his service with the U.S. Army. In addition, had post-traumatic stress disorder and often experienced chronic migraine headaches since his return from military service..
The result of that evaluation showed Scott was competent and not suffering from “insanity” at the time of the crimes.
In addition to Scott’s arrest warrant, the judge has ordered his bonding company to pay Scott’s $65,000 bail in full unless the company could provide a good reason why Scott was not in court as ordered.
To report information on Scott’s whereabouts, call your local law enforcement agency, the Orange Beach Police Department at 251-981-9777, or Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at 877-787-5898, or log on to mscoastcrimestoppers.com and leave an anonymous tip.