Crime

Coast vet accused of faking his own death may be hiding out in Texas, marshals say

The search for a decorated Army veteran suspected of faking his own death may now be hiding out near friends and famiy around Beaumont, Texas, according to agents with the U.S. Marshals Regional Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force.

In recent weeks, others have reported seeing Jacob Blair Scott, 42, of Moss Point, hanging around outside an apartment complex in Denver, Colorado, near other relatives.

Since then, marshals believe Scott may have moved on to Texas, where his father lives.

Marshals are urging anyone who sees someone matching Scott’s description to report it immediately.

The Sun Herald has been following Scott’s case in Jackson County since he was indicted on 14 sex crimes charges, one of which acccuses him of filming a girl simulating sex. He was set to plead guilty to the crimes days before he went missing.

In a recent interview, the victim’s mother and his wife of 10 years spoke about the alleged crimes.

She said she knew he would run because Scott had told her he wouuld before he spent one day in prison for his alleged crimes.

“He was given a very low bond and he had a very good job at Chevron, and had money through the V.A., so I knew he had the money to bond out and run,” she said, her voice shaken as she spoke of the alleged crimes that turned her daughter’s world upside down when she was impregnated at the age of 14.

“He wasn’t the type of person to own up when he did something wrong,” said the mother, whom the Sun Herald is not identifying to protect the identity of the victim. “He said he’d never go to prison.”

Crime scene?

In July, police in Orange Beach, Alabama, found Scott’s abandoned dinghy boat about a mile off shore.

Inside the boat was what appeared to be a suicide note and a small-caliber handgun that was tied to a rope and hanging off the side.

In the note, Scott left his mother’s name and phone number along with his Social Security number and an inscription that simply reads, “I’m sorry.”

After finding Scott’s abandoned dinghy, Orange Beach police, the Coast Guard and other marine personnel searched for Scott’s body by land and air for seven days.

An investigator said early-on something was suspicious about the case, adding it was unusual for a body not to surface so long after an alleged death in the Gulf of Mexico.

Local, state and federal authorities also found it odd that Scott disappeared days before he was set to plead guilty and go to prison for his crimes.

The Army veteran who served in Iraq and earned a Purple Heart is facing a possible life sentence if convicted of the 14 felony sex crimes charges pending against him, one of which accuses him of filming the girl simulating sex for him.

The state had entered into a plea agreement with Scott, but that deal may no longer be an option.

Other clues

Since the boat’s discovery, other clues prompted suspicion.

For example, U.S. marshals said it was unusual to find little forensic evidence of a suicide, such as brain matter or skin, and there was very little blood on the boat.

In addition, a review of his financial records showed Scott had withdrawn $45,000 from his retirement account before he went missing. Other evidence indicated he had been spending money excessively before he was set to plead guilty.

As soon as his dinghy was found without a body, the victim’s mother said she knew he was on the run. He swore he’d never spend a single day in prison and he knew how to live off the land.

“Immediately, I knew that he hadn’t killed himself,” she said. “He was very narcissistic in our marriage. He loved himself very much. He had a Ghostbusters car. He loved anything that would draw attention to himself. I just knew. That ‘s the kind of person he was.”

Scott’s 1994 Toyota 4-Runner was found in a parking lot of Alabama’s Boggy Point Park. Inside his SUV, authorities found several empty bottles of liquor, a military bag and another from Chevron along with some rope, some money, Scott’s license and credit cards and his dog tag.

Since he went missing, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said his information has been entered into the National Crime Information Center database — an electronic database of various wanted persons including fugitives, which is accessible by law enforcement agencies nationwide — in an effort to apprehend them.

‘She’s scared’

The mother was married to Scott for 10 years, and said she suffered repeated physical and emotional abuse at Scott’s hands.

She only reported one of the domestic incidents, records show, because she said Scott told her he’d never face any punishment for because he was a veteran and Purple Heart recipient who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nothing happened in the case.

She said her youngest daughter feared Scott because she had witnessed the domestic violence firsthand.

Scott managed to keep the abuse secret for months through his continued threats to the girl.

“She knew he was violent and she knew he would follow up on his threats,” her mother said.

“He would say, ‘I’m going to blow your momma’s head off and make you watch if you tell what’s happened,’” her mother said.

He wasn’t the girl’s biological father, but since her father had died, he was the only father she had known.

“This has been a nightmare for the last two years,” she said. “It has affected us in every way. We don’t go out hardly. We are scared. My daughter won’t go outside by herself. We have to watch her. She doesn’t want to go anywhere at night. She’s scared.”

Found out

The mother said she didn’t know what was happening because Scott allegedly sexually assaulted the young girl while the mother was sleeping.

What was going on came to light when Jackson County authorities summoned the mother to a Coast hospital, where her daughter’s older sister had taken her to report the crimes.

Scott was with her for part of the ride, up until he told the mother he was going to prison for sexually assaulting the girl. The mother left him at a gas station and drove on to the hospital without him.

When the mother got there, Jackson County deputies were waiting to let her know her youngest daughter was 10 weeks pregnant and Scott was the father of the child, something DNA evidence would later confirm.

Jackson County investigators arrested Scott the same day.

A grand jury later indicted him on 14 sex crimes charges, one of which accused him of filming the young girl simulating sex for him.

Filing for divorce

A day after the mother learned of Scott’s alleged crimes, she filed for divorce and obtained the first of many protection orders to keep him away from her and her family.

Still, record shows, Scott violated the restraining orders and only once was arrested and put in jail.

Soon, he was back on the streets under a $65,000 bond set by Jackson County Judge Kathy King Jackson to ensure his court appearance.

The judge issued a new warrant for his arrest after he failed to show to enter his guilty pleas.

Jackson had already allowed Scott time to have surgery before he went to prison for his crimes. The mother and local authorities have since learned Scott never underwent surgery despite his claims it was needed to treat ulcerative colitis.

‘Please turn yourself in’

After Scott’s arrest, the threats against the girl only intensified before he went missing.

“When she got pregnant, he told her (the daughter) he would kill me and kill himself,” the mother said. “She believed him. She was scared. She knew what he was capable of.”

According to reports obtained by the Sun Herald, Scott also has been accused of trying to run one of the girl’s family members off the road in a car and repeatedly violating protection orders, as was case when he went to the mother’s home after she filed for divorce to retrieve some of his belongings.

According to an order issued in the case, Scott could go get his stuff only with a police escort. Scott went alone, but authorities showed up a short time later.

For the girl’s mother, a final plea to her ex-husband is imperative.

“Please, just do the right thing for once and turn yourself in,” she said. “(My daughter) deserves justice, Jacob. You’ve done enough. Please, please turn yourself in and do the right thing.”

As long as he’s on the run, she said, she fears for her family, as well any other children he may encounter.

“If he did this to my child that he had been around since the age of 2, why wouldn’t he do this to anybody else’s kid?” she said. “I never want anybody else to go through what we did again. It’s horrible.”

Got a tip?

U.S. Marshals are offing a reward for information on Scott’s whereabouts.

To report information, call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at 877-787-5898.

All calls are confidential.

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Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.
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