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Fayetteville investigators searching for answers in 1997 murder

On July 17, 2007, Robert "Robby" Lee Jacobs was found dead in his father's mobile home in Fayetteville. On July 17, 2007, Robert "Robby" Lee Jacobs was found dead in his father's mobile home in Fayetteville.

At just 20 years old Robert Lee Jacobs' life was cut short.

On July 17, 1997, Robby was found dead in his father's mobile home in Fayetteville. Sixteen years later, his killer is still out there and Robby's family is still searching for answers.

"Robby was a well-liked young man," explained Lt. Bobby Reyes, lead homicide detective for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

"He loved all kinds of sports," said Robby's mom, Elaine Minshew. "He was in wrestling, football, baseball, and soccer."

Robby grew up in a loving home.

"He's my brother and I loved him very much he would do anything for anybody," said Robby's sister, Danielle Stephens.

"We fought a lot growing up," joked his older sister Lisa Jacobs Ivey "but in our teenage years we were best friends."

When Robby turned 20, deputies say he ran into a bit of trouble.

"He ended up getting a ticket for DWI and to help his parents pay for the ticket he started selling small amounts of marijuana," Reyes said.

On the night of the murder, Robby was home alone at his father's house. The next morning, his father found him slumped over on the couch. He was shot multiple times in the head.

The news stunned the family.

"It was anger, it was shock, it was the worst day of my life," Stephens said.

"I hated whoever did it; even though I didn't know who to hate, I hated them," Ivey said.

Inside the home, investigators were baffled.

"They found no sign of any struggle, no sign of anything taken, and no sign of forced entry," explained Reyes.

Investigators believe Robby knew who his killer was.

"The person that killed Robby Jacobs knows Robby Jacobs" Lt. Reyes said, "Robby wouldn't allow anyone in his house unless he knew them."

Deputies searched the neighborhood and conducted countless interviews, including the family, with no luck. There was even a report of a suspicious car in the area that night, but from there the case went cold.

As time goes on, the family says their focus is keeping Robby's memory alive. While investigators try to piece together who, those who loved him just want to know why.

"He was just a good son and I miss him. Whoever did it, they don't know what they did to our life, to me as a mother," said Robby's mom.

"What was so bad that you felt you had to take his life?" asked Ivey.

Reyes said he still has hope for the case and they're continuing to follow up on any new information.

While the family waits, they say they have forgiven Robby's killer. 

"Sixteen years later, I don't hate that person anymore," said Ivey.

"Even if we do find out who it is, I forgive them," said Robby's mom.

Now they turn to their faith to carry on.

"God has given me peace about it," Robby's mom said, "I really just want justice for why my son was murdered."

If you have any information that can help bring the Jacobs' family closure and bring this murder to justice, call the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. There is a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. The Cumberland County Homicide Unit phone number is (910) 677-5548.

You can also call the CrimeStoppers tipline, which is completely anonymous, at (910) 483-8477.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.


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