Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View

Iowa Survivalist Charged With Child Porn Faked Suicide, Evaded Arrest For Six Years

Jacob Greer was out on bond in Iowa awaiting trial on child porn charges in 2016 when he disappeared, leaving a suicide note in his vehicle. Authorities, who arrested him in Washington state this week, said he actually just lived off the grid for nearly six years.

Jacob Greer

An Iowa man who faked his death and “lived off the grid” for nearly six years to avoid facing child porn charges was apprehended nearly 2,000 miles away in Washington state.

Jacob Greer, 28, was taken into federal custody on Monday after he was found living in Tacoma, Washington, years after skipping out on child porn charges. A recent, undisclosed tip led to his capture, the the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement.

“He tried to fly under the radar and did a pretty darn good job of doing it,” Mike Powell, a supervising deputy for the U.S. Marshal’s Southern Iowa Fugitive Task Force, told Oxygen.com. “Luck was on his side for a while but eventually it will catch up to you and I think that’s what happened in this case. Suffice to say, he was successful in evading arrest for almost six years.”

For more than half a decade, the whereabouts of Greer — who lived in campgrounds and homeless shelters during that time — bamboozled law enforcement. 

“Over the course of the six years we interviewed a lot of different people,” Powell said. “We looked at a lot of different resources and databases, law enforcement in other locations had run down leads for us. Putting all the information together we were able to kind of pinpoint the general area where he was.”

Greer had been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in April 2016 and charged with possession of child pornography. Greer — who was living at his grandmother’s home in Des Moines at the time — bonded out under the condition that he wear an ankle monitor. His case was scheduled to go to trial in September 2016, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.

The next month, however, Greer’s probation officer reported that his GPS anklet device had been removed and an arrest warrant was issued. Authorities later found the Iowa man’s vehicle containing a supposed suicide note

“There was a suicide note found here in Des Moines after he absconded,” Powell said. “We couldn’t corroborate that — there was no body, there was no evidence of a suicide — but he certainly left a suicide note.”

Federal officials later learned that Greer had “fled Iowa with money, a bow, arrows and a backpack full of survival gear.” 

“There was some indication this had been a desire of his for a while,” Powell said, referring to Greer’s lifestyle.

In June 2016, a pickup truck Greer had been driving was found by forestry officials in a campground in the mountains near Flathead, Montana. Investigators later learned he’d only recently purchased the vehicle using a $1,000 loan from a friend. 

“There was some indication that he was trying to find a place to camp or get into Canada somehow,” Powell explained.

However, his trail went cold soon thereafter, authorities said.

In the early months after he disappeared, investigators say Greer survived by “roughing it in the wilderness,” officials said. It’s estimated he lived “off the grid” this way for approximately two months before relocating to Tacoma, where he drifted from homeless shelter to homeless shelter and worked odd jobs under the table to “eke out an existence.” 

Tacoma is nearly 1800 miles — or approximately a 27-hour drive — from Des Moines. Federal officials, however, didn't elaborate on how he made the cross-country trek.

Greer avoid any police scrutiny by not using credit cards and living a transient lifestyle. Federal investigators suspect he possibly used a different name.

“I don’t think it would be an easy way to live, that’s for sure,” Powell said.

Approximately a year ago, Greer met someone in the Tacoma area, who offered him a place to stay so he could get off the streets, the U.S. Marshal’s Service said. An undisclosed recent tip led to Greer’s capture this month.

During a Tacoma court hearing on Tuesday, Greer disputed his identity before a judge, separate court records show. He was remanded to custody, pending his extradition to Iowa. Officials were unable to provide a timeline for when his custody transfer from Washington will occur.

Greer is expected to faces additional charges related to the violation of the conditions of his bond, including travel, drug use and using the internet, a petition for his arrest warrant stated. 

Heather Carroll, a federal public defender temporarily assigned to Greer’s case in Washington, didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment on Thursday.

Calling All True Crime Fans
Oxygen Insider is your all-access pass to never-before-seen content, free digital evidence kits, and much more!
Sign Up for Free
Related

Crime News is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content. 

You May Also Like...
Recommended by Zergnet