Item 21 | What the Deuce?! -- Fearless Cultural Mania
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Update, 04oct2019: Scroll down for the most recent information I could find (which is from 2016).

[Excerpts from the article:]

As the search for the body of Cookie Jacobson comes to the close of its first week, Tempe police are still optimistic they will complete the first successful landfill search for a homicide victim. The 18 search officers have been working quickly through the last four days, sifting through more than 200 tons of garbage . . .

While searchers were told to expect a "smell you will never forget," Lind said that deterrent has not been what they initially anticipated. As the days have passed without additional rain, the smell and stagnant condition of the landfill has not been pleasant . . .

Fulginetti said there is no way to know the condition [ ]'s body will be in when officers find her. "We may find her in a nice little bundle," she said.

Lind said officers are upbeat and confident that their efforts to find the woman, whose children reportedly admitted to putting her in a garbage container behind their Tempe home after finding her dead in bed on Sept. 21 . . .

In an effort to keep spirits high in the landfill-turned-crime scene, officers have begun to find "rake buddies" -- old toys found in the trash that are taped to their rakes. Lind said the number of rake buddies increases as the days pass.

(According to a Deuce of Clubs informant whose sister is working at the site, everything in the landfill ends up pressed together into a grey muck -- much like what a corpse would look like, in fact. The only things in the landfill that are recognizable are these kids' toys, she says. "It's about staying sane in a really gross environment. I mean, we're digging through a garbage dump looking for a corpse.")
Rake Buddies

Tempe police find interesting ways to cope with revulsion.

(Article from Arizona State University's State Press, 30oct98; Rake Buddy photo from Arizona Republic, 28oct98.)

After 18 years of searching, the case of a missing Tempe woman remains unsolved, with her children still being considered ‘persons of interest.’ Missing Woman in Tempe: At 7 a.m. on September 21, 1998, Bill Jacobson kissed his wife, Cookie Jacobson, goodbye as he left for work, not knowing that would be the last time he would see her again. He contacted police after learning that she had not attended her night class, in fact, she never answered the door when her friend came to pick her up. Due to back injuries suffered in a car accident, Cookie had to retire from her career as a home health care nurse. She had recently begun taking graphic art and computer classes. Police reports state that she was last seen by her teenage children as they left for school that morning. She was still wearing her pajamas. When she was discovered missing, her purse, shoes, credit cards, makeup, and clothes were still in the house. Over the following days, 100 people passed out 5,000 missing person flyers to every business within 200 square miles of their home. In an interview with Cookie’s 16-year-old son Aaron, he reportedly told police that he found his mother dead in bed. Aaron relayed to police that he was afraid that he would be blamed, so with the help of his sister, he wrapped his mother in a bed sheet and placed her in the garbage container. Police would later confirm that blood stains found in the trash container matched that of Cookie Jacobson. The Landfill Search: Finding a body in a landfill many days after it arrived would prove to be an enormous task. Workers at the Butterfield Landfill in Mobile, Arizona zoned off an area where they estimated the body would be. This field was roughly 70 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 13 feet deep. After specialized training, 18 Tempe Police officers spent 59 days picking through 8,000 tons of waste. Tempe spent $375,000 on searching the landfill. Cookie Jacobson's body was never found. The Teens: The teenage children of Cookie were arrested. Aaron for second-degree murder and his sister for allegedly assisting him, but they were quickly released for lack of evidence. They were never charged with any crime. After telling police that he found his mother dead and that he and his sister put her in the trash can, Aaron never spoke of it again. His sister has always denied any involvement with her mother's disappearance. According to police reports, Aaron did talk to classmates about his mother before her disappearance, saying their relationship was bad and that he wanted to kill her. Those reports also indicated that Aaron was the only one to fail a polygraph test. Today, police officially consider the children 'persons of interest' in an 'unsolved cold case.'