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Murder of Jacob ‘Jake’ Millison by his own mother Deborah Rudibaugh investigated on Where Murder Lies

Mugshots of Deborah Rudibaugh and Stephaine Jackson
Deborah Rudibaugh and Stephaine Jackson were both sent to jail for their involvement in the murder of Jacob Millison. Pic credit: Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office

Where Murder Lies is examining the disturbing murder of Jacob “Jake” Millison, who was killed on his ranch just outside the town of Gunnison, Colorado. Jake was murdered by his mother, Deborah “Deb” Rudibaugh, with the help of his sister, Stephaine Jackson, and brother-in-law, Dave Jackson.

According to friends, Jake had worked hard to keep the ranch going but became embroiled in a battle with the rest of the family over the inheritance of the property, which ultimately led to his death.

Jake had spent his youth helping his stepfather, Rudy Rudibaugh, out with the ranch, and when the older man passed away, he was left working the farm himself. Unfortunately, the relationship with his mother had begun to deteriorate severely; Deb seemed to think that the problems on the farm stemmed not from outside economic and climatic factors but from her son’s laziness.

Jake’s relationship with his sister Stephaine Jackson and her husband, Dave Jackson, also proved to be particularly fractious. Stephaine had inherited money on Rudy’s death, whereas Jake had received nothing, but it was assumed he’d inherit the ranch on his mother’s death. Now, the police would later conclude, Stephanie also wanted to take the ranch.

Jake’s relationship with his family continued to deteriorate, and at some point before his death, Deb changed her will, leaving the ranch to Stephaine, meaning Jake would get nothing.

Deb would later admit to the cops that in the early morning of May 16, 2015, she crept into her son’s bedroom and shot the 29-year-old in the head with her Smith and Wesson. Jake’s body was then wrapped in a tarp and buried in a pile of manure.

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Jacob Millison’s friends were determined to find out what happened

When Jake’s friend’s asked the family what had happened to their friend, they were told he had run off somewhere, possibly to Nevada. As the months ticked by, friends and the local sheriff’s office became increasingly concerned about Jake’s whereabouts and suspicious of how unconcerned his family seemed about his disappearance.

Eventually, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation got involved, and two years after Jake’s disappearance, the authorities conducted a search of the ranch. They found Jake’s body and began interviewing Deborah, Stephaine, and Dave.

In the end, Deborah, dying of stage-4 cancer, told a judge that she had killed and disposed of her son’s body. She pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years. She died in prison a short time later.

Deborah insisted that her daughter, Stephaine, and Dave had nothing to do with the murder, but the cops didn’t believe that the frail and sick woman could have disposed of Jake’s body herself.

Stephaine was initially charged with murder, but eventually, she was convicted of tampering with a corpse and was sentenced to 24 years. Dave admitted to moving the body months after the murder and was sentenced to ten years based on that confession.

More from Where Murder Lies

Follow the links to read about more murderers profiled on Where Murder Lies.

Lorraine Hunter cold planned and executed the murder of her husband, Albert Thomas, and she recruited her 15-year-old daughter to help with the sickening crime. The cops suspect she may have also killed a previous husband.

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William Snyder strangled his wife, Kelley Jo Snyder, to death at their home in Renovo, Pennsylvania. He then tried to cover up his crime by claiming she’d been abducted.

Where Murder Lies airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but is now based in the...read more

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