UNSOLVED: 1991 Murder of the Jacobs Family Sept 5, 2014 3:16:53 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Sept 5, 2014 3:16:53 GMT -5
Murder of Land Park family remains unsolved
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It's been more than 23 years since the Jacobs family was slaughtered in a crime that terrified Land Park. Still, at least one investigator remains hopeful their murders will be solved.
"We solve a lot of cold case homicides with people coming forward after they feel they won't be retaliated against and maybe that's holding some people back," said retired Sacramento police Capt. John Parker. He has gone over every piece of evidence in the Jacobs case. The family was murdered on Robertson Way sometime late on January 14, 1991. A homicide detective described the scene as "heinous."
The 2-bedroom house at 522 Robertson Way looked like any other cottage-style home in Sacramento's Land Park neighborhood. The lawn was neatly cut. The hedges trimmed. A rolled-up newspaper lay on the brick porch. The family cars were parked in their usual places in the driveway.
But on the morning of Tuesday, January 15, 1991, inside the home was anything but ordinary. In one bedroom was the lifeless body of 9-year-old Jenny Jacobs. She had been shot in the face as she lay in bed, still clutching her favorite doll. The girl's mother, Marcy Jacobs, was lying in the doorway of the bathroom. She had been shot and stabbed to death, apparently after fighting for her life. The body of Michael "Mick" Jacobs was in the garage. He had been shot multiple times in the head, execution-style.
"It was a horrific crime scene," commented Capt. Parker, who described the slaughter as "Sacramento's Charles Manson case." But unlike the notorious Southern California killers, those responsible for murdering the Jacobs family have never been caught.
From the start, detectives had few leads and unusual obstacles. Within hours of the discovery of the bodies, which were found around 10 a.m., a city labor dispute forbidding overtime sent investigators home when they could have been interviewing suspects and witnesses. News of the triple homicide took a back seat when the Gulf War broke out two days later.
A poem written about Jenny by her fellow fourth-graders at Crocker-Riverside Elementary hung on a library wall and faded with the passing years. It eventually was tucked inside a desk. Even the street address of the Jacobs home was changed to 524 after the house sold in foreclosure. The case disappeared from the community's memory.
Yet for some, the case left scars too deep to forget. The mothers of Marcy and Michael Jacobs never gave up hope, even in their final days. Michael Jacobs' sister still has faith those responsible will be brought to justice.
Brooke Lenzi, who shared a desk with Jenny at school, remembers a best friend with whom she would "sing the entire sound track to 'The Little Mermaid' movie." She and fellow students received weeks of grief counseling. Lenzi, now an actress living in Los Angeles, said she was invited to sleep over at the Jacobs house the night of the murders, but had other plans. "I have guilt. I have relief I wasn't there," she said.
Among the little evidence left behind was a mysterious safe Michael Jacobs was keeping for a friend who is missing and presumed dead. The safe was found a few feet from Michael Jacobs' body, empty with its doors ajar. People told detectives they heard the safe contained between $75,000 and $100,000 in cash. Others believed it contained a small fortune in freshly mined gold nuggets. Still others thought it was filled with a huge stash of methamphetamine.
Marcy Jacobs, a 31-year-old data entry technician for the state Department of Justice, was attending classes at night. She wanted to become a crime scene investigator. Mick was a 33-year-old carpenter for a large Sacramento contractor. He was constantly working on the home he and his wife had owned less than a year. As teens, Marcy and Mick played ball and hung out at Lawrence Park in the south Sacramento neighborhood where they grew up. They married in 1988.
While Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs appeared to be law-abiding citizens, their old neighborhood friend, the man who owned the safe, led a different life. Richard "Ricky" McCarthy was a convicted felon. Police think he might have been dealing drugs and running with motorcycle street gangs. McCarthy collected knives and vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycles and was a partner in a gold mine in Amador County, police said.
In October 1990, a week after serving 120 days in the Yolo County jail for possession of methamphetamine and carrying a concealed weapon, McCarthy disappeared. Police do not believe he had anything to do with the killings, which happened nearly three months later. After he went missing, his home near 56th Street and Folsom Boulevard was found locked and his valuables undisturbed. Numerous notes and messages left for him by his family were ignored, including some from his 13-year-old daughter.
When Marcy Jacobs didn't show up for work that Tuesday monring, a co-worker called police. When they arrived at the home, officers found two cocker spaniels in the backyard. Lights were on inside the house and a still-hot clothes iron sat upright near a stack of neatly folded blouses. The killers apparently fled through a rear door that was left open. "Whoever did this knew the family and that is why everyone was killed, including Jenny," John Cabrera, one of the original detectives, said. He believed one man engineered the plan and enlisted others to help him. Investigators surmised there were two or three killers, based on the caliber of bullets recovered from the bodies.
A homicide investigator said he doesn’t believe the Jacobs family was involved in criminal activity and that Michael Jacobs didn't know what was in the safe. Whoever killed the Jacobs family knew McCarthy's safe was at this home.
Captain Parker said he's sure somebody has information that will lead to the killers. He added that it's not necessarily unusual for a murderer to brag to someone about a crime as heinous as killing a 9-year-old girl. "Sometimes it's out of guilt themselves but they usually always talk to somebody," Parker said.
If you have information about the Jacobs murders, contact Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357) or text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES). Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information.
Sources: ABC News and the San Francisco Bee.