Tonight on a special Monday episode of Dateline NBC, correspondent Josh Mankiewicz reports on the murder of Jake Millison and the case against his family members, Deborah Rudibaugh, Stephaine Jackson and David Jackson.
The episode of Dateline will include interviews with friends of Millison including Derek Chodorowski, Rebecca Diani, Jared Hooks, Nate Lopez, Randi Martinez, Jake Pettegrew, Chris Rourke and more.
After years missing, Millison’s body was discovered at the 7-11 Ranch where he lived. His mother later confessed to killing him, saying she feared for her own life, according to The Washington Post.
Monday on an all-new #Dateline at 10/9c, our story centers around a martial arts student, Jake, who disappeared. While in Colorado for this mystery, our producers stopped by the Gunnison Jiu-Jitsu gym where Jake trained to learn more about the sport. pic.twitter.com/jp8ZGsYTvh— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) September 20, 2020
Millison went missing on May 15, 2015, according to The Atlantic. Five days later, two of his friends drove to the 7-11 Ranch where Millison lived with his mother, who told the men that her son had gone to Reno, Nevada, and had left his phone behind, according to The Atlantic.
According to The Atlantic, Millison was set to inherit the 7-11 Ranch one day, but his family was not always happy with the way he kept the ranch running. At one point, according to the report, Millison had filed an order of protection against his brother-in-law, though he later withdrew the complaint.
The Atlantic reported that Millison’s mother, Deb Rudibaugh, filed a missing persons report three months after he disappeared.
On July 17, 2017, Millison’s body was found at the 7-11 Ranch, wrapped in a tarp. Someone had buried him in a pile of manure, according to The Atlantic.
The Washington Post reported that Deborah Sue Rudibaugh killed her son on May 16, 2015. The Post reported that she went into his bedroom and shot him in his head while he slept.
She told police that she was scared her son would kill her, the Denver Post quoted from an arrest affidavit.
Investigators continued searching after the July 2017 confession, though, according to The Washington Post. They did not believe that Rudibaugh would have been able to relocate her son’s body by herself, as she was only 5 feet tall and weighed around 70 pounds. Millison, on the other hand, was tall and weighed around 170 pounds.
Later, the Gunnison Times reported that Rudibaugh was charged with first-degree murder. In a twist, however, Stephaine Jackson and her husband David Jackson were also arrested in connection with the crime, The Washington Post reported.
The morning after Millison was killed, Stephaine Jackson wrote a cryptic message on Facebook.
“Have you ever been woken up with such awesome news you wanted to run outside screaming?” she wrote, according to the Denver Post.
The Washington Post reported that David Jackson turned on his wife during police interviews. The couple also both failed a polygraph test, the report stated.
David Jackson was sentenced to 10 years in prison for moving the body, The Atlantic reported. On May 13, 2019, Rudibaugh pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after taking a deal. She was sentenced to 40 years in prison, according to Crested Butte News.
The Denver Post reported that Stephaine Jackson also pleaded guilty, and she was charged with tampering with a dead body. The murder charge against her was dismissed, according to the Canon City Daily Record. She was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
According to the Colorado Department of Corrections, Stephaine Jackson, who is currently 36 years old, is serving time at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility.
Jackson will be eligible for parole in October 2029, and the next parole hearing date will take place in August of the same year. The department of corrections estimates the mandatory release date of Jackson as October 29, 2041.