John_Jacob
Photo of John Henry Jacobson which was taken within a year prior to his disappearance

Case Type: Endangered Missing
DOB: Aug 12, 1991 Sex: Male
Missing Date: Nov 16, 1996 Race: White
Age Now: 21 Height: 3’0″ (91 cm)
Missing City: BISMARCK Weight: 47 lbs (21 kg)
Missing State : ND Hair Color: Lt. Brown
Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Blue
Case Number: NCMC826663

Sandra_Jacobson

Photo of Sandra Jacobson, mother of John Jacobson

Case Type: Endangered Missing
DOB: Dec 8, 1959 Sex: Female
Missing Date: Nov 16, 1996 Race: White
Age Now: 53 Height: 5’6″ (168 cm)
Missing City: BISMARCK Weight: 145 lbs (66 kg)
Missing State : ND Hair Color: Brown
Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Green
Case Number: NCMC826663

John Jacobson, then 5, had just celebrated his birthday less than two months before he went missing. He was last seen on the evening of November 16, 1996, with his mother, Sandra Jacobson leaving 1100 University Dr in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The two had went to Sandra’s mothers (John’s grandmother) house to eat dinner. They stayed for an hour or so and left in Sandra’s car. On their way back home, Sandra called the Bismarck Police Department on her cellular phone. She seemed distressed and told dispatchers that she believed individuals were taking part in satanic rituals on a farm in Center, ND. When asked why she called the Bismarck Police and not Center Police Department or Oliver County Sheriff’s Department, she said she didn’t “trust them”. They got home at approximately 7:30pm and Sandra contacted her mother. The mother had wanted to bring her to the hospital because she believed Sandra was showing signs “mental illness”. Sandra agreed and said she and John would drive to her home after stopping at a service station to get gas, and they will go from there.  They were last seen by neighbors leaving their home and haven’t been seen or heard from since.

Her mother reported her and her grandson (John) missing at 10pm that night after she didn’t show up and couldn’t be reached.

Her vehicle, a gray 1990 Honda Civic, was located the following day abandoned at Centennial Beach near the Missouri River in Bismarck. The driver’s side door was left wide open, keys still in the ignition and Sandra’s purse laying in the front seat with only her license missing. A search of the beach showed no signs of the mother and son but police did find a child’s shoe that may have possibly belonged to John, although they’re uncertain if it is indeed his shoe.

The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department’s dive team attempted to search the river but had to cut the search short because of strong river currents and bad weather. Searches between Centennial Beach and the railroad bridge yeiled no signs of the missing mother and son, nor did their house or cell-phone records provide any evidence of their possible whereabouts. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

It is believed that she did stop at a gas station because her gas-tank was filled when her vehicle was discovered.

There have been many theories as to what happened that night. Everything from rituals to a murder-suicide committed by Sandra. But they are all assumptions and police have no suspects or evidence pointing in a particular direction. It appears as if they vanished into thin air.

NCMC826663e1

Age-enhanced photo showing what John may look like at 18-years-old. He would be 21 today.

When John was last seen, he was wearing a hunter green winter coat with blue cuffs. Sandra was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue sweatshirt, brown lace-up boots, and a blue down-filled jacket.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to please contact: Bismarck Police Department at 701-223-1212

Or contact: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)