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A twisted trail of betrayal and greed, where would it lead? I'm Lester Holt and this is Dateline. Jake had disappeared.


They didn't know what had happened to him. Friends described him as someone who was very disciplined, who cared about his martial arts.


His dad stated he's been known in the past to take off.


When is the last time you heard from? Way back in May. Yeah.


This needs to be reported to the police. Everybody's kept it a big dark secret, it was always pretty tense at the ranch. That's the wrong thing was said or was done. There was fire in our eyes.


We're all scratching our heads and asking why, how? But still no arrests. The river that runs through all of this is screaming with money. Very much so. I just kind of froze and I said, is that what I think it is? She just looked at me and said, you know, you can't ever leave now.


Right? Here's Josh Mankiewicz with trouble at the 7-Eleven ranch. Home on the range, sometimes here in western Colorado, it's so quiet that all you can hear is the wind. Beautiful hay meadows that wave in the breeze, and it's just a lovely part of the valley. It is beautiful, no doubt. At the same time that lovely lonely valley can be an unforgiving place to live. It can drive some people to extremes. No one understood that better than rancher Jake Milsom.


He would always spend the majority of daylight out at the ranch just working.


And a ranchers work is never done. There's always a fence somewhere that needs mending. Jake Melyssa seemed cut out for that life at least until one day at age 29. Jake apparently gave up that life and disappeared. Nobody ever got a call. No one ever got a text. No one got a Facebook message. Nothing. Nothing.


Yeah, he he evaporated. No one heard from him for two years.


It was weird. The ranch had been Jake's life for most of his life. The spread was the seven eleven hundreds of acres outside the town of Gunnison under a canopy of Colorado sky. Jake lived there with his older sister, Stephanie, ever since they were kids. Jake's parents are divorced and his mom, Deb Rudeboy, found another husband, a guy who owned the 7-Eleven. They home, Jake, so he could help out more on the ranch. I mean, he was out there all day, every day, almost every day, you know.


Another Jake, Jake Pettigrew and Rebecca Dionna used to help out at the 7-Eleven. What was the vibe at the ranch?


Really quiet. You know, maybe a couple times a year they would have like a family reunion or hunters would come up and stay in the cabin.


By 2003, Jake's sister, Stephanie, had moved out looking for a life beyond the sprawl of the 7-Eleven.


What about Jake and his sister?


I know that he loved his sister, but. The kind of. It was upset that she married who she married. That would be David Jackson.


So Jake didn't like Dave so much because he was a carny and he did the paintball booth and gunnarsson when a cardinal came through. And Jake thought, what my sister can do better than a guy who works the paint ball. Exactly.


Yeah, they married anyway and lived in town, only coming out to the ranch occasionally.


Jake's pal Nate Lopez says Jake had an adventurous streak.


He was kind of a recluse, but he was always willing to go explore the mountains and and just to try anything new with his friends.


Randi Martinez was another member of Jake's posse.


He's all very quiet, especially towards girls. He was really shy towards girls with this funny. Jake's stepfather died in 2009 and the workload got heavier. Now it was 23 year old Jake and his mom running the ranch, except for that time he took off to Alaska to make money on a fishing boat. And even that was really about the ranch.


He was out on the ship for, I think, three months. And he came back with with a good chunk of money. And he he put all that into the to the ranch to kind of save it from going under.


The only break Jake ever got was time with his friends, a kind of second family.


We were all best friends. So we would all hang out. We would kind of know everything we were doing and do it together.


That meant shooting pool at some local hangouts and drinking beer, except for Jake, who was always happy to be the designated driver.


Jake would always go up to the bar and order a Coke. Even though he was just a couple years older than us. He always acted like an old man. He was always the responsible one, trying to do the smart thing in tricky situations.


I met Jake in winter, December of 2012 at the Gunnison Jujitsu Gym.


That was the other important part of Jake's life and another group of friends, martial arts, particularly jujitsu. Derek Jeter Aski was one of his sparring partners and Jake was good at it.


Jake was good.


Jake was the most consistent student that was ever in that gym. He was there every night, four nights a week.


Jake usually announced his presence on his beloved motorcycle, a 1976 Harley-Davidson Sportster. He'd had it since high school.


I can picture him coming on it right now. He was proud of it. Oh, yeah.


He wore a red bandana when he drove it his leather jacket in mid-May 2015.


They were practicing for an upcoming tournament in Denver.


He landed on his ankle and he twisted it. And I believe he had to pull out of the tournament because he couldn't walk. Then came Friday night, May 15th, stuck at home, Jake called his pal Randy about going to a movie up in Crested Butte. After the movie, they hit a couple of bars, played some pool and parted ways around midnight. There are a million things to do in Gunnison and this all seemed routine. It turned out not to be.


The next morning I woke up. We kind of plan on doing something. I texted him, see what was up and never got a reply, which is really weird because I pretty much talk to him every day. Keep the next week.


Jak's jiujitsu PAOs were back from that tournament and back on the mats. No, Jake, they figured he was still nursing his ankle. And then after a few days, they started to wonder, a week goes by and we're like, guys, we're worse.


Jake. Unusual for him not to come in.


Also unusual for him not to tell one of us that he was going to be gone, gone because he was fed up with that hard life on the ranch, or was there a side of Jake that even his best friends didn't know about? When we come back, the mystery deepens. There's a lot of things that might have explained his absence that aren't criminal. Absolutely. And that's why I didn't want to jump to any conclusions. But Jake's mother had her own idea about what might have happened to her son.


I'm not supposed to know, but I do know.


It was May 2015, 10 days have passed and there was still no sign of Jake Mallison at the Jiujitsu Gym or anywhere else in Gunnison, Colorado, Jared Hooke's, one of Jake's gym buddies, decided to do something.


This needs to be reported to the police. And so I stepped up and said, you know what?


I'll do it because you're not just any friend. Now I'm a sergeant with the town of Mount Crestview. And so I thought, you know, I had a little bit of credibility. And so if I had red flags, you know, it would translate also to the deputy there.


That deputy was Gunnison County Undersheriff Mark Mykal, his first order of business call Jake's mother, Deborah, the ball.


Deb told us that he left with a friend and was going to the Reno, Nevada, area.


Investigators also found Jake's father, his dad, Ray, stated that he's been known in the past to take off abruptly and do things like that fishing job in Alaska and a few camping trips.


At 29, Jake had no obligation to tell anyone where he was going and it didn't mean something bad had happened.


When somebody doesn't show up, there's a lot of ground to cover, right? He meets some girl and they decide to go to Las Vegas. He has some fight with his family or somebody and decides to just hit the road and the hell with it. I mean, there's a lot of things that might have explained his absence that aren't criminal.


Absolutely. And and that's why I didn't want to jump to any conclusions.


There was something Jake's pal Randy Martinez noticed when he'd gone to the ranch with a buddy looking for Jake, and they ran into Jake's closest friend and his dog, Elmo, big black, curly haired dog, really cool dog.


And he runs out and meets us. And it's like, oh, that's really weird. Elmo's here, so Jake should be here. And so then we start talking to more people. And we literally talked to everybody we knew that he knew we talked to and everybody that we knew that he knew that he hadn't heard anything, hadn't been telling stories about any trips, anything. So it was really weird.


In early June, Undersheriff Mike paid his own visit to the 7-Eleven and heard that Jake had returned. His mom said Jake had been gone for a little while, but then came back to pick up supplies. She said Jake was with a friend, someone she didn't know.


Deb was telling us that it was late at night, took a bunch of camping gear and loaded this up in dark colored pickup truck and took off. There wasn't any room for the dog.


None of it made sense. What could Jake be up to? And who takes a trip without his cell phone?


She told us the phone fell in an irrigation ditches. She showed us the phone. It was in a bag of rice.


That could definitely explain why Jake wasn't answering any calls or texts. Dipset Jake told her he was off to Nevada to study martial arts, so really didn't have anything to go with at that point.


By August, Jake had been gone almost three months and by then it seemed even his mom was becoming concerned. She filed a missing person report that wasn't enough for Jake's friends. They wanted to get his story out. So they contacted Chris Roark, a reporter for the Gunnison Country Times, and she called Jake's mom. He did.


Thanks for calling me back. No problem.


What's them like? A small, wiry woman, very talkative. She like to talk.


I know he originally was going to go on his motorcycle but decided to go with somebody while the reporter's recorder ran.


Deb told her the same thing.


She told the sheriff's deputy Jake had run off and Jake took off in a truck with a friend and the friend didn't want the dog along and he took enough stuff for two people.


She started out a little reticent and then the details started coming.


He also wiped out my groceries. Oh, really? Huh. And, you know, he took all the Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs, raviolis or whatever. When is the last time you heard from him? I'd have to look it up on a calendar. And it was about the twentieth. Of September, no way back in May.


Yeah, Deb also told Roarke's something the reporter had never heard before. Jake had a dark side, a serious drug problem.


I'm not supposed to know, but I do know because everybody's kept it a big dark secret that my son has been doing drugs because of that.


Deb said there was tension between mother and son.


Have you two been typically close? No. Once he started doing the mixed martial arts and the drugs and stuff, we had one argument and fight after another.


So maybe that's why Jake left.


He was just sick of fighting with his mom all the time, and I knew he was going to be gone a while. He's been gone too long. And so I have declared him a missing person. So it's possible he left of his own volition and. Oh, he did. And then ended up getting into some kind of trouble. Right.


A picture of a different Jake was starting to emerge. And I think it lends itself to the two sides that were painted of who Jake was, this reckless person that was irresponsible and had run off. And his friends described him as someone who was very disciplined, who cared about his martial arts, cared about his friends very much.


With that in mind, Chris filed her story.


So you make sort of reference to the two Jags. Right. And what reaction does that article provoke? Well, the friends were mad.


They were upset and they said that something has happened to him, the Jake that Deb is portraying is not the guy we know.


Jake's friends seemed hell bent on finding it. That was in October. Soon the case would get as cold as a western Colorado winter coming up with Jake gone. His sister Stephanie moves in to help with the ranch and reveals a dark side if the wrong thing was said or wrong thing was done, there was fire in her eyes when Dateline continues. Hey, guys.


Willie Geist here reminding you to check out the Sun Sit Down podcast. On this week's episode, I sit down with Grammy winner D.J. Callard to talk about his rise as the son of immigrants to a hip hop empire. His latest self-titled album and his keys to quarantine over the last few months. You can hear our full conversation right now on the Sunday Sit Down podcast. Get it for free wherever you download yours.


He had never met Jake Ellison, but Jeremy McDonald would have a ringside seat to the circus.


That was Jake's family, starting with Jake's brother in law, Dave. You've known Bo Jackson for a long time. Yeah, since we were like nine or 10 years old.


Remember, Dave Jackson was married to Jake's sister, Stephanie. It was the spring of 2016. By then, Jake had been gone almost a year and without him, his mom had been running the ranch all by herself. That was about to change. They've called Jeremy and offered him work. He said, hey, we're going to be taking over the ranch again.


Jake's mom, Deb, had been diagnosed with cancer and recently undergone major surgery. Dave, Stephanie and their then eight year old son had moved to the ranch to help out. Dave asked Jeremy to live with them and fix up the place in return for room and board.


I just decided, no, it's not a it's not a bad idea. We were going to turn the ranch around, had the guest cabins and all of that and get the ranch back to making money.


Pretty much, yeah. What's it like when you get there?


It's a mess and there's there's clutter and junk everywhere. A lot bigger project than I had even expected.


He decided to stick it out. After all, Dave was one of his best friends. What about Deb? Did you know her when you moved there?


I never had met Deb and Deb until I moved there. And she seemed very reclusive, but it was very obvious. She was a little bit ornery, will say that.


How did that manifest itself? She was super controlling. Any time we tried to clean anything up on the ranch, for instance, there was a building that we were cleaning out and it had some couches in it that were covered in rat feces and they were destroyed. And Dave and I were moving them out and she came out and started screaming and yelling at us that she wanted to keep those couches.


And you chalk that up to what? Crazy.


Honestly, that's just how she was like everything she got didn't leave.


And Jake's sister, Stephanie Jeremy says there was a side of her few people ever saw.


There is the stuff that most a lot of people knew, which was a very nice lady, but seems like there was a switch. And if the wrong thing was said or wrong thing was done, there was fire in her eyes.


Stephanie and her family seemed pretty cool with Jake's disappearance. His friends were not. They created a Facebook page, where is Jake? Melyssa? And they peppered Sheriff Rick Massacre's office with phone calls they would not give up on Jake. Every one of the friends had credibility.


Benziger says his investigators had been looking all over for some sign of Jake. Melissa.


Our heads are up in Alaska. Our notions are in Nevada, and we're still running a crust.


Nothing in the fall of 2016, mostly because of the attention generated by Jake's friends. The case finally landed on the desk of Gunnison County Deputy District Attorney Jessica Waggoner.


His friends knew that this is not something he would have done at that point. Jake had been missing for more than a year.


The Colorado Bureau of Investigations got involved and we went from there to put in a plan in place to do search warrants on FOAM'S and begin the process of looking for Jacob.


The more the prosecutor talked with the investigators, the more concerned she became.


Normally, when somebody disappears, it's the family who's saying to you. This isn't normal, something's wrong, but in this case, family is telling you, telling law enforcement there's nothing to worry about. Right.


And it wasn't until the friends really pushed. They started posting on Facebook and started calling law enforcement. And I think that's where we had to just keep digging.


And when Wagener dug into Stephanie's Facebook page, she noticed something Stephanie had written just a few days after her brother went missing.


She did a posting that said big things are happening for the Jackson family. A couple of days later, she posts again. Do you ever hear such great news in the morning that you can't stand it or something like that?


And her friend responded saying, Oh, Jake, Scott, Stephanie seem to be treating Jake's sudden absence as some sort of opportunity. The prosecutor found that troubling as she read through the interviews Jake's friends had given to investigators. And she saw comments like this.


It was always pretty tense at the ranch when whenever Dave was out there, in fact, she learned Jake was afraid of Dave and taking up jujitsu hadn't been just for the exercise.


So he decided to start taking jiujitsu because he was kind of scared for his fear of his brother in law trying to do something to him or just pretend protecting himself.


So that made it all the more strange. When Wagener saw this posted on Dave's Facebook page, him astride Jake's prized bike, something Jake never would have tolerated. He loved that motorcycle and had a history with him. Nobody could write it. If I remember correctly.


He loved that bike and he wrote it as much as he could. We could see some of his arch nemesis on his bike was really, really weird.


Maybe Jake would ditch the ranch, maybe even the dog, but not the Harley. That picture told Jake's friends something they didn't want to admit but now couldn't avoid. Jake was never coming back.


Coming up, Deb said that she thought that he might be in witness protection somewhere.


As the family's excuses grow stranger, the prosecutor grows more suspicious. We couldn't buy the family's reasoning anymore. Spring 2017, Jake Melanson have been off the grid for nearly two years. He had disappeared without a trace. Reporter Chris Rork had been watching the story closely, along with all of the town of Gunnarsson. It was always talked about in the community. It was always on people's mind. I recall a body was found west of town. It turned out to be a hiker that had, you know, gone the wrong way on a trail.


But, you know, any time something came up like that, we always wondered, do you think that's Jake Rourke kept thinking back to her interview with Jake's mom into something Deb had said. When is the last time you heard from him? I'd have to look it up on a calendar. And it was about the 20th of September. No way back in May. Yeah. Now, for just a second, think about that. I interview a lot of women whose children are have disappeared and they know exactly when the last time they spoke with them was Yeah.


To the minute. Yeah. But I can't remember when the last time I talked to him was right.


I'd have to look at my calendar. Very odd. Yes.


By now, prosecutor Jessica Wagener had moved on from odd to possibly criminal. Jake's friends seemed credible, saying Jake would not have taken off like that. His family, not so much.


We couldn't buy the family's reasoning anymore. Deborah Rutba had said from the beginning that he had left for Reno, Nevada, to do some martial arts fighting. And then Stephanie Jackson would tell friends and family that Deborah had told her that he was in Portland or Seattle and the cities kept changing and the reasons why he was leaving kept changing.


And in any of those cities, you couldn't find anybody who'd seen him or talked to him. And there was no financial record of him anywhere in those places. Correct.


Since he disappeared, Jake had never used a credit card, never used his passport, never gotten a new cell phone and never visited an ATM. And as she put it all together, the prosecutor began to wonder if Jake Melanson had really ever left the 7-Eleven ranch. It was time to search the land that seemed to have a starring role in this family drama that would be easier said than done.


The property that we're talking about was massive. They owned some hunting rights in various places up in the mountains. They had a quarry across the road. They had caves.


By spring, she had enough to convince a judge to sign a search warrant. But the prosecutor was born and raised here and she knew she had to wait with Gunnison.


And it's whether we couldn't have searched for him in the spring. Grounds are still frozen and that would have caused some problems of being able to find him. So we knew it had to be in the summer.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jeremy MacDonald's experience was going from weird to weirder. How do they explain Jake's absence?


So they had always told me that he had just left. He just disappeared.


I never met Jake and so I didn't know anything about what he was like. So I just kind of thought, well, maybe he did just leave, you know, if that's what they say. There was even times where Deb said that she thought that he might be in witness protection somewhere.


Witness protection. Yeah. So maybe he's living under another name somewhere else in the country. Yeah.


He said theories about what happened to Jake would be dinner conversation. Maybe Jake was dead at an accident, maybe worse. One night, Jeremy says he was having dinner with Stephanie and Dave and threw out his own theory just as a joke.


I mentioned what if what if Deb did it and buried him in the backyard? And at that very moment that I said that the whole demeanor of Steph completely changed and it got really awkward and you could see that darkness in her eyes, I, I remember just feeling I stepped somewhere wrong coming up. I just kind of froze and I just said, is that what I think it is?


A makeup discovery followed by a terrifying threat. She just looked at me and said, you know, you can't ever leave now, right when Dateline continues.


By summer 2017, prosecutor Jessica Waggoner was ready to execute a search warrant at the 7-Eleven ranch, she had listened to Jake's friends, gathered her evidence and then waited for the Colorado sun to melt the frozen ground. And there was one more event.


Wagener had waited for an annual convention of dogs, but not just any dogs. These dogs have a very particular set of skills, skills that make them a nightmare for some people.


So every year a bunch of cadaver dogs will come out and get certified for FEMA by going to these old mining towns and doing these searches for the old gravesites. That's right.


It's a gathering of some of the top cadaver search dogs in the country in, of all places, Gunnison.


And you thought, what better time to look for a body than when there are a lot of cadaver dog teams in town?


Exactly. And Lisa Higgins was there, a dog trainer for more than 30 years.


Her dogs have helped solve all kinds of cases from missing children to serial killers.


The sheriff asked that I become the liaison between the canine group and the agencies working with this case.


So early on July 17th, the cadaver dogs formed up with dozens of investigators about a mile from the 7-Eleven ranch. A small group of investigators went ahead to serve the warrant. Jeremy MacDonald was asleep in a trailer in front of the main house was fairly early.


It was about 7:00 in the morning. And all of a sudden pounding on my door, you know, please open up. Please come out your hands up.


Jeremy wasn't wondering for a moment why they were there, because it turned out he'd seen something.


So let's talk about what happened or you're sort of accidentally witnessed something that I'm guessing you wish you could unsee.


Yeah, it was two months before the day of the raid. Jeremy says David Jackson was operating a backhoe.


And as I walk around the corner, I see Dave and Steph standing, looking at a rib cage.


You heard that right? A rib cage. And I just kind of froze.


And I just said, is that what I think it is? And at that moment, Steph and Dave both turned around and and Dave had shock in his eyes. And Steph turn and threw our arms up in the air.


I don't know what it is. I'm going to go call mom, blah, blah, blah, and took off running to the house. You could see you'd see the rib cage and you could see the top part of what looked like a pair of jeans.


Steph came back and she said, it's a bear or some wild game that Jake shot illegally.


Just cover it back up. You have to be thinking, is that Jake? I, I definitely was thinking it was taken in my heart. I knew it was Jake. There had to be.


Did you say anything mean.


So I guess I didn't I didn't know what to think. And I know a lot of people outside looking in.


I think, why didn't you just call the police? You have to understand at that moment, that was my family, and even though it wasn't the most functional family in the world, it was that was who I ate dinner with every day. And so a lot of it was I didn't want their boy to be drug into all of this.


That boy was Stephanie and Dave's nine year old son. And Jeremy said and he thought of contacting police later evaporated in the name of self-preservation.


And staff was kind of talking to me.


And I was there and she just looked at me and said, you know, you can't ever leave now. Right. And at that point, I didn't really know what to do.


That sound like a threat to you? Because it sounds like a threat to me. It did sound like a threat. You sleep with one eye open or maybe both eyes open.


I don't think I slept for a couple of nights. And you never told law enforcement?


I didn't. I tried to just block it all out. I didn't I didn't want to be involved and I wanted no part of it. And yet you were a part of it, know? Now, there they were, the prosecutor, the police and the dogs, the search for Jake, Melissa was about to get very focused, very fast.


Coming up, an answer no one wanted, Dan.


And questions no one can answer, we're all scratching our heads saying why and how. July 17th, 2017, Jake Mallison had been missing for more than two years while a convoy of law enforcement and a pack of cadaver dogs weighted down the road. An investigator questioned Deborah Roadable about her missing son.


She was evasive at first. And then when Deb heard about those cadaver dogs, she coolly and calmly dropped a bombshell. Deborah Tobias said that while Jake was asleep in the upstairs area of the lodge, she went up and she shot him in the head. The confession was almost casual as a mother described murdering her own son. She said that she was able to drag the body out and then she took a the backhoe and buried him in a manure pile.


David pointed them to the corral, so that's where dog handler Lisa Higgins sent Jack, a German shepherd from West Virginia.


Jack went in and he performed his training on a response, which was a passive sit in the area he was most concerned with.


Investigators brought in a backhoe and the seven 11 ranch slowly gave up its secrets. Jake Milson was no longer missing. His remains were found wrapped in a trash bag.


I think at that point we felt tapped out. I felt tapped out and reliving it. Right now, I'm really living that aspect of it as well. Dan?


You mind if we take a break? Jake's friends had long accepted the truth that they'd never see him alive again. So when they got the word, it was no shock.


It's closure, but it sucks because I'd rather my friend than closure. Now, it was time to get get some convections, find out the truth, find out, you know, who was involved.


If this feels to you as if it should be the end of the story of what happened to Jake. Melissa. Listen to this. No one was arrested that day. The news spread quickly around Gunnarsson.


We learned that Deb had confessed and we're all scratching our heads saying why and how and ask ourselves all the questions. But still no arrests.


You got a body, you got a confession. Why don't you put the handcuffs on people?


There was a lot of people on scene that wanted that to happen. And I heard a lot of screaming when I said no, but nothing was matching up yet.


It was hard to believe. As tough as Deb was, she was five feet tall. Ninety seven pounds. And remember suffering from stage four cancer about a week before Jake was murdered, she'd had surgery.


Deb admitted that she couldn't lift a gallon of milk all the way into July or August from the surgery without hope.


Investigators didn't think there was any way she could drag Jake's 180 pound body down the stairs outside and then buried him all by herself. They were certain she had help.


The suspect needle is sort of pointing away from Deb and towards Stephanie.


This entire case, the suspect needle was pointing at Stephanie, the motive.


The prosecutor said this was all about the 7-Eleven, millions of dollars of valuable ranchland. Stephanie wanted it, but Jake stood to inherit it. Jake was murdered so that he wouldn't inherit the ranch. We believe so. Yes. I believe that Stephanie knew almost immediately, if not at the time, and had manipulated this into happening and had created the situation.


If it was not for Stephanie Jackson, Jacob Milson would be here today.


The prosecutor also believes Stephanie persuaded her husband, Dave, to help with the cover up.


I think finally, seven months after Jake's body was discovered, deputies arrested Deb, one murder charge and Stephanie and Dave Jeremy MacDonald cooperated with investigators and was never charged with any crime because the district is in session.


After initially denying any involvement, Dave Jackson pleaded guilty to tampering with the deceased body and received ten years and repeatedly misrepresented your knowledge about the disappearance of Zachary.


Yes, sir. By then, forensics left little doubt who actually pulled the trigger at Jake's autopsy, they found the slug that killed him.


The bullet was still there and we were able to match it to the gun.


Deb's gun, a lady, Smith and Wesson revolver. They found it under Deb's bed with Deb's DNA on the handle.


You certainly do have the right to make a statement in May of 2013, four years after she killed her son. Deb pleaded to second degree murder. Even then, Deb maintains she alone did the crime and the cover up it.


My daughter, Stephanie Kexin, in no way knowingly had anything to do with Jake's death or subsequent cover up.


She was sentenced to 40 years. I would like to start out by saying thank you for the opportunity to speak.


Then, facing a trial for the first degree murder of her brother, Stephanie admitted she was part of the cover up. She pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting and to tampering with the deceased body.


When I am guilty of is believing the stories and lies my mother told everyone for over two years.


All of it, she said, was her mom's idea. I would also like to apologize to my father, my grandparents, my extended family and anyone else who's been affected by my mother's heinous actions.


The judge didn't buy it and sentenced Stephanie to the maximum 24 years in prison. It all seemed to flow from homespun greed, and the river that ran through it was green with money and maybe a drop of jealousy. In November 2019, Deborah Tabart died in prison from her cancer at the age of 70.


So whatever really happened, maybe Deb took that to the grave with her?


I think so. I don't think Stephanie will be telling us anytime soon what really happened that night.


We do know this all those stories, Jake, taking off, Jake, abusing drugs. The idea that there were two Jak's, those were all lies and his friends never believed them.


You know, if it weren't for you and Jake's other friends, this case quite possibly would never have been solved.


I believe that Jake's several buddies on the mat and his friends outside, we were the ones that that pushed us to get the salt. His family kind of underestimated his second family then. They absolutely.


Now it's the end of the story of what happened to Jake Mallison. His friends fought for him. His family fought against him. And in the end, it's hard to tell who won.


That's all for now. I'm Lester Holt, thanks for joining us. The Meet the Press Chuck Todd cast, it's an insider's take on politics, the twenty twenty election and more candid conversations with some of my favorite reporters about things we usually discuss off camera. Listen for free wherever you get your podcast.