Survivalist who faked death to avoid child sex abuse image trial arrested after years on the run


A “survivalist” who faked his own death before fleeing Iowa in 2016 to avoid a child sex abuse image trial was arrested Monday in Washington state, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

After nearly six years on the lam, Jacob Greer, 28, of Des Moines, was found and apprehended in Spanaway, the service said in a statement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested Greer on charges of “receipt and possession of child pornography” in April 2016, officials said.

He was released on bond the next day under pre-trial supervision and an ankle monitor was placed on him. On May 31, 2016, Greer’s probation officer was alerted that his GPS monitoring device had been removed, officials said.

“A multiagency search effort ensued, and Greer’s vehicle was found with a suicide note inside of it. However, searchers did not find Greer’s body,” the U.S. Marshals said. “A federal arrest warrant for Greer was issued that day.”

The U.S. Forestry Service found another vehicle associated with Greer on a campground in Flathead, Montana. Greer was nowhere to be found.

Investigators learned Greer had bought the car with a $1,000 loan from a friend. He fled Iowa with money, a bow, arrows and a “backpack full of survival gear,” officials said.

“Greer was last seen at a Wal-Mart in Kalispell, Montana, June 3, 2016, wearing a camouflage hat. Through additional interviews, investigators learned Greer was a survivalist and had plans to live off the land in remote areas of the upper western states or southern Canada, hiding out in abandoned cabins,” the Marshals Service said.

Ted Kamatchus, U.S. Marshal for the southern district of Iowa, said in the statement that catching up to Greer is a sign the agency is tenacious when it comes to finding fugitives.

“The arrest of Jacob Greer after six years is a testament to the tenacity of Deputy U.S. Marshals and our investigative partners,” he said. “Even though the case went cold, they would not quit.”

Greer is being held at the Federal Detention Center in Seattle and he will be brought to Des Moines to stand trial, officials said.

It was not immediately clear Wednesday if he had secured an attorney. Greer’s relatives could not be reached for comment.

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