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Man Allegedly Kept Slain Girlfriend’s Body In Coal Bin For 16 Years Before Hacking Off Her Legs To Make Her Fit In Box

Jade Babcock, a man with a violent past and reputation, is accused of killing Brenda Lee Jacobs in 2003 and going to great lengths to hide her corpse.

By Gina Tron

A Pennsylvania man is under arrest for the brutal 2003 slaying of his girlfriend after he was allegedly seen trying to dismember her mummified body in order to make it fit in a new hiding spot.

Jade G. Babcock, 49, was arrested on Sept. 17 by the Pennsylvania State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department confirmed in a Friday email to Oxygen.com.

He’s been charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and abuse of a corpse. The Pennsylvania State Police confirmed via phone that he has also been charged with criminal homicide for the death of Brenda Lee Jacobs, whose body they believe they discovered on Sept. 16.

Investigators believe that Babcock fatally punched Jacobs at their home in Montoursville the day after Christmas in 2003. He allegedly kept her corpse in a closet for several months before hiding her in a coal bin located behind his grandmother’s home where he and his girlfriend lived, according to court documents obtained by Penn Live. Jacobs' body remained in that coal bin for 16 years, authorities believe.

“The coal probably absorbed some of the moisture and helped add to the preservation of the body,” Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling, Jr. told Penn Live.

The body stayed there until last November when the home was sold. It was at this point that authorities say Babcock cut Jacobs’ legs off with a hacksaw so that her body could fit in a wooden box. 

Jade Babcock Brenda Jacobs

Less than a month later, some fishermen found the legs, stuffed in a bag, in the Susquehanna River. Kiessling noted that they were mummified and that the toenails were still painted pink.

The remains were linked back to Babcock after his current girlfriend came forward on Sept. 16. She told police she watched Babcock dismembering a body as he tried to make it fit into a wooden box last November, according to court documents.

The body was found in a storage unit in Philadelphia the same day Babcock's current girlfriend spoke to police.

The body has not yet officially been identified or matched to the legs.

Babcock has denied knowing anything about the body.

“Not me, do what?” he told reporters when asked about the allegations on Tuesday, WNEP in Scranton reports. He wore a shirt with an image of a skull with marijuana leaves for eyes during his perp walk.

Babcock’s bail has been denied, according to online court records. It’s not clear if he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf at this time. He told a judge Tuesday that he suffers from bipolar disorder, depression and that he misuses methamphetamine and alcohol.

Babcock has a lengthy and violent criminal past, which includes convictions for making terroristic threats in 2019 and 2009 and of simple assault in 1996, 2008, 2009.

His former neighbor Ken DiRocco told WNEP that Babcock is notoriously violent.

“He had a drug problem,” DiRocco said. "He had an alcohol problem. Every time he would use, he'd get crazy. He'd get violent. The cops were over there all the time.”

DiRocco expressed surprise that there was a corpse stored in his neighborhood for over a decade. He attributed the lack of smell to the coal bin. 

Jacobs wasn’t officially reported missing until 2013 but one of her family members told PennLive that she was in fact reported missing in 2003 and claimed that police didn’t fully investigate at the time.