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Body of missing pastor found

by JOSH McDONALD
Staff Writer | April 23, 2024 6:05 PM

PINEHURST — The body of a pastor who was the subject of an intensive search was found Tuesday evening.

Pinehurst Police Chief John Richter said Gene Jacobs was found dead in a mountainous area south of Pinehurst.

Jacobs was the lead pastor at Real Life Ministries Silver Valley. He failed to arrive for a weekly 7 a.m. meeting with elders at the church after leaving his home about 5:30 a.m., the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to the SCSO, footage from a neighbor’s Ring camera showed Jacobs turning from the way he would usually walk to the church about a mile away, and instead heading up a hill toward trails he often hiked.

Church members were alarmed when Jacobs didn't arrive for the meeting with elders and shortly afterward called authorities.

About 40 people with the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office and Pinehurst police and others were involved in the search that began Tuesday afternoon by foot, dirt bikes and in the air. 

An SCSO spokesman said Jacobs’ water bottle was found along a trail, and his cellphone was turned off.

Jacobs had served as the lead pastor and an elder at Real Life Ministries Silver Valley since the church was planted in 2007, according to the church website. He grew up in Western Washington, served in the Navy and attended Boise Bible College. 

“Gene spends his free time with his family, playing guitar and exploring the trails of North Idaho by foot or bicycle,” the website states.

An investigation continues.