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Cold Case Spotlight

Several Clues but No Answers in 2012 Disappearance of Cort Jones

Cort Jones and his mother Sandra Dietrich. Sandra Dietrich

The details are there, like the beginning of a mystery novel; a motorbike, a syringe, a desperate last phone call. But for the family of Cort Jones, a Redding, California man who disappeared in August of 2012, the book’s last page has been torn out.

Cort, who was 23 at the time of his disappearance, was last seen by his mother, Sandra Dietrich, on August 16, 2012.

According to a Redding Police Department press release, Cort had called his mom for a ride home from a friend’s. When Sandra showed up to get Cort, he was gone.

“When Cort called me to ask for a ride, that was the last time I heard his voice,” Sandra told Dateline NBC.

According to Sandra, Cort was preparing to move to Chico, California to go to college.

On the afternoon of the day her son vanished, Sandra had encouraged him to come home and prepare for his move to Chico. Cort was trying to sell some of his BMX bikes to come up with money for rent. He then headed to his friend’s house for a few hours.

When Sandra showed up and Cort was not there, she immediately began worrying about what may have happened to him. She say she began searching that night, calling her son’s friends and knocking on doors.

But Cort was simply gone.

On August 25, 2012, about a week after he vanished, Sandra reported Cort missing. Police deemed Cort “missing at risk.” He maintains that status three years later.

“I know everyone says I was close with my kid, but I am honest when I say that we were very close and he would never go anywhere without letting me know that he was going,” Sandra said

While police were conducting their own investigation, Sandra pressed on with her own. Along the way, she says she found clues but never any solid answers.

“I ended up finding one of the bikes he was trying to sell in the bushes down the street from where I was supposed to pick him up,” Sandra told Dateline NBC.

And days later, another clue emerged. “We got some friends together and did a search and we found a syringe a few feet from the bush where we found the bike.”

Sandra is open about the fact that Jones had previously struggled with partying. She says she had discussed counseling options for her son and felt he was willing to get help.

Rumors continue to circulate regarding Cort’s disappearance and Sandra feels let down by authorities’ efforts to find Cort. “I don’t believe that they’ve handled this case like he’s important,” Sandra told Dateline NBC. “They think he was a victim of his own lifestyle and choices.”

Investigators from the Redding Police Department could not be reached for comment, but Cort’s case does remains an open investigation.

Today, nearly three and a half years after Cort vanished, Sandra is constantly reminded of the son she dearly misses.

“In my heart, I know he’s gone,” Sandra said. “I just wish that someone would come forward and say where he is.”

If you have any information regarding Cort’s case, please contact the Redding Police Department at (530) 225-4200.