Missing Pastor’s Body Found

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Press Release from City of Pinehurst Police Department


On April 23, 2024, at approximately 8:05 a.m. Pinehurst Chief of Police John Richter was contacted by members of the Real Life Church and advised that they were not able to locate Pastor Gene Jacobs. A search was already underway by elders of the church, and the chief arrived a few minutes later to assist. Elders of the church stated that they had started to attempt contact with Pastor Gene right after 6:00 a.m. since he had not yet arrived at his scheduled 6:00 a.m. meeting. Their calls and texts went unanswered. After the meeting they attempted to contact him at home but were told by his wife that he had left home earlier.

It was determined that Pastor Gene had left his residence at approximately 5:30 a.m. according to video footage from a neighbor’s residence. He was on foot, which was normal. A canvas of residential doorbell cameras and businesses with cameras was conducted along his normal route to church and beyond. There was no other video footage of Pastor Gene after he left home, and the video did not indicate a direction of travel other than north from his residence.

Chief Richter contacted Shoshone County Sheriff Holly Lindsey to request assistance with the search. Deputies arrived shortly after and were instrumental in all facets of the search and investigation.

Pastor Gene’s cell phone provider was contacted to locate and potentially track his movements. There was no data available, and it was believed that the phone might have been shut off.

During the search Chief Richter was told of potential threats made to Pastor Gene. Based on that information the search team investigated the possibility of an abduction. That was soon discounted when Pastor Gene’s water bottle was found up a walking trail that he is known to often hike. At that point, all available resources were sent to that area and further up the trail. Resources included citizens of Pinehurst and members of church on motorcycles and ATVs.

A Kootenai County tracking K9 arrived along with their drone team and a detective to assist in the search. They, along with Shoshone County deputies, spent hours walking up and down steep trails and hill sides during the search. Although there were some shoe prints found, no track was established.

Eventually both Shoshone County and Kootenai County search teams arrived and were able to organize teams on foot to search areas not available to motorized equipment. We were also fortunate to have both a Civil Air Patrol airplane and Two Bear Air’s helicopter join the search. It was at approximately 6:00 p.m. that Two Bear Air located Pastor Gene in a location off the trail and unsearched by teams on foot due to the remote, steep, and wooded location. All foot teams were called down off the mountain at that time.

A recovery team responded to the location and found Pastor Gene deceased. His body was safely removed from the location and turned over to the Shoshone County Coroner and Shoshone Funeral Home. Initial indication is that Pastor Gene Jacobs died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Based on the investigation and evidence so far, there is no reason to suspect foul play, but to ensure a complete investigation, an autopsy is scheduled.

Further information will be released at a later date.