Manassas Journal Messenger | Police seek witnesses in Stafford slaying

Stafford County investigators believe that there were other people in the hardware store where Falmouth resident Crystal Michelle Jacobs was stabbed to death in July who may have seen something but have not come forward.

The murder of Jacobs, 33, was connected to a robbery at the post office located inside Earl’s True Value Hardware at 300 Chatham Heights Road in Falmouth, Sheriff Charles Jett said at a press conference Thursday.

Jacobs was murdered between 4:30 and 5 p.m. on July 14. She had closed the post office window at 4:30 p.m. A co-worker found the body at 5 p.m. inside the post office area.

More than $1,000 in cash and several hundred dollars worth of checks were missing from the post office, along with an off-white colored U.S. Postal Service mailbag, a stamped post office registry receipt made out to Earl’s and an Omega Constellation ladies watch with a pearl face and a gold ring encircling the watch face which was decorated with Roman numerals. The stainless steel watchband had 18 karat gold hinges. The watch was not specifically linked to Jacob, but was the only personal item missing.

Conviction of armed robbery of a postal employee or facility carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. That is for the charge for robbery alone, not murder, which can be punishable by life in prison or even death.

The U.S. Postal Investigation Service has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Jacob’s killer, and the agency also is assisting in the investigation, as is the FBI.

Jett also released the descriptions of two men seen inside the store and in the vicinity of the post office at about the time of the murder, as well as a truck photograph reproduced from video taken by the first deputy to arrive at the scene.

He also showed a photograph of the large box truck with a “dull orange” foreign-made short cab. The back of the truck was pale pink.

“It appears to be a bit of a unique description of a truck,” Jett said. The photo was taken at 5:05 p.m., minutes after the crime was reported.

Investigators from the sheriff’s office, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Investigation Service have interviewed “dozens” of hardware store customers, and family and friends of Jacobs, Jett said.

“We know that someone [who was] there knows something about the murder,” Jett said.

Jett said the two white men seen near the post office area of the store appeared to be together. The older man, who was between 30 to 40 years old, was at least six feet tall, weighed at least 250 pounds and had a “large, protruding stomach.”

He had muscular arms and had a bluish-green tattoo of either a dragon or a snake on either his right or left upper arm. He was either bald or had a shaven head, wore either a mustache and/or a goatee, and was wearing a black leather vest, Jett said.

He was seen with a younger man, between 20 to 30 years old, who was between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed between 130 to 140 pounds. He had sandy- to dark-colored hair worn in a feathered style on both sides.

Jett called the men “persons of interest” and said investigators “would like to talk with them.”

He said the murderer or murderers did not leave the hardware store from the post office area’s locked back door. The only available exits were through the front door of the large hardware store or through the garden area, which would have involved scaling a fence.

He asked that anyone with information either call the sheriff’s office at (540) 658-4400 or call the anonymous Crime Solvers hot line at (540) 659-2020.

Jacobs had worked at Earl’s for at least nine years, a store manager, who asked not to be identified, said last month.

Jacobs, a native of the area, was married to Mark Jacobs and she had three daughters ages 11, 13 and 14, as well as a 9-year-old stepdaughter.

Jacobs’ murder is the fourth murder in Stafford this year.

K.J. Williams writes for the Stafford County Sun.

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