A man confessed to murder and was arrested after police discovered dismembered human remains this week inside a Philadelphia self-storage unit. Authorities received a tip on Monday that led them to Safeguard Self Storage at 3300 N. Franklin Ave.
Police believe the legless body belongs to the man’s ex-girlfriend, Brenda Jacobs, who’s been missing since 2003, according to sources. The storage facility is about 200 miles away from where the victim was last seen. It isn’t known who was renting the unit or how long her remains were stored there.
Jade Gillette Babcock, 49, was arraigned on Wednesday and faces charges of abuse of a corpse, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. An additional charge of murder in Lycoming County, Pa., where Jacobs went missing, is expected, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. He’s being held without bond.
The police tip came from Babcock’s current girlfriend.
Jacobs, a 37-year-old mother of two from Montoursville, Pa., wasn’t officially reported missing by her family until 2013. Police haven’t publicly identified the body, but family members told media outlets it’s Jacobs, a source reported.
Babcock has been living in Philadelphia since his home at 322 Jordan Ave. in Montoursville, was condemned for code violations a little over a year ago. Police visited the Montoursville house last week to collect evidence, according to Lycoming County District Attorney Kenneth A. Osokow. Depending on how the investigation goes, murder charges could be filed, said Osokow, who refused to confirm or deny Babcock’s confession.
Investigators were at the house until after midnight. They left with five-gallon buckets of coal from a coalbin in a barn on the property, according to a neighbor, who declined to provide his name to the source. “They brought their own table and poured the coal, a little at a time, onto the table. They then sifted through the coal with their hands. They wore gloves,” he said.
Police also escorted a cadaver dog through the house and snapped photographs, the neighbor said. An officer referred to the location as a “problem residence,” saying police were called to it several times over the years for disturbances, a source reported.
Police are also investigating whether a pair of mummified legs found 75 yards apart on the north shore of Susquehanna River on May 11 could belong to Jacobs. A DNA profile is underway, but the results might not be available for several months, according to Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. Dental records will be used to help identify the remains found in the storage unit, he added.
The neighbor said Babcock was a “pretty nice guy” when sober. “However, whenever he got into alcohol and drugs, he got violent,” he said, adding that “stragglers went in and out of (Babcock’s) house, people he rented rooms to.”
Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Atlanta, Safeguard operates 75 facilities throughout the eastern states. It’s owned and operated by Morgan Stanley’s Prime Property Fund.
6 ABC News, Human Remains Found in Philadelphia; Could Be Tied to 2003 Missing Person Case
Metro, Man Confesses to Murdering His Ex After Remains Found in Storage Unit
San Francisco Chronicle, Remains of Missing Woman Found in Storage Unit, Ex Charged
Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Montoursville Native Confesses to Murdering Ex-Girlfriend