On July 2, 2011, Jared Hanna departed from his Jerseyville, Illinois home at approximately 11:30 a.m. The 28-year-old was a single father of two who devoted most of his time to his jobs or his kids’ needs. This particular weekend, his daughters were visiting their mother in St. Louis, Missouri, so he had some alone time.
It’s not exactly clear what Jared had in mind to do on Saturday. It appears likely that he intended to fish for at least some of the day because he took some bait and his fishing equipment with him when he left his house. His family wasn’t worried at first when he didn’t come home that evening. At some point, Jared had talked about going camping, so they assumed he had made up his mind to do so that weekend.
Jared’s sister Heather received a call at midnight on July 4th from Jared’s ex, inquiring as to whether he was home. This was the first indication that something might not be right. She informed Heather that Jared was not reaching out to her on his cell phone and that he was not expected to pick up his daughters at any point on Sunday night.
Though worried, Jared’s family made an effort to stay upbeat. It was hoped that Jared was still camping and had not realized how late he was, or had just gotten out of cell phone range and couldn’t tell anyone. But as Monday night wore on, Jared had still not responded, and his family’s anxiety was growing with every hour.
Jared’s mother Pat New got a call on Tuesday that appeared to allay the family’s suspicions that something had happened to Jared. About 70 miles from Jared’s Jerseyville residence, in a rural part of Clinton County, Illinois, the 1990 GMC Sierra that he was driving was discovered abandoned.
Early on Sunday morning, while he was driving home, a Clinton County Sheriff’s Department deputy noticed the truck on the side of Jolliff Bridge Road, but he hadn’t really given it much thought at the time. The deputy made the decision to look into whether the truck was stolen when he drove that way again on Tuesday and noticed that it was still parked in the same spot. The deputy discovered that Pat’s son had been operating the truck and was now missing when he called her. The truck was registered to Pat.
Jared’s family reported him missing to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department as soon as they learned that his truck had been discovered abandoned. Detectives with the Jersey County Sheriff’s Department began attempting to ascertain where Jared had gone after he left his home late on Saturday morning, while officials with that department began looking into the area where the truck had been found.
Surveillance footage showed Jared pulling into a Jerseyville Amoco station on Saturday at 11:45 a.m.; he entered, paid with cash for a Coke, and drove off. Around 12:30 pm, Jared’s cell phone signal from an East Alton, Illinois cell tower indicated that he had headed south when he left the gas station. He then made his way toward the Centralia region. He checked in on his daughters over the phone with his ex-wife at around 9:30 p.m.; he was still in Centralia at that time, but he didn’t tell her what he was doing.
Jared knew the area well, having worked in Centralia once. Jared’s sister claims that he was informed by some of his former coworkers about some private land nearby where he could go fishing; given that Jared left the house carrying his fishing gear, it appears probable that he visited one of these locations. Despite visiting every possible location, investigators were unable to uncover any information regarding his whereabouts.
Jared’s truck had run out of gas when it was discovered. After running out of gas, the detectives surmised that Jared had gone on foot and searched the area for anyone who might have seen him. One possible witness was located, and she described seeing someone who fit Jared’s description early on Sunday morning while strolling along Jolliff Bridge Road. Since the witness mentioned that the person in question was carrying a gas can, investigators concluded that the witness was most likely Jared. But Heather isn’t so sure. According to Heather, her brother would never have worn a wifebeater, which is what the witness claimed he saw the man wearing.
A man who appeared to be Jared, according to the occupants of a trailer on College Road in Centralia, knocked on their door on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and asked for directions to Casey’s General Store, which was over five miles away. They also reported to the detectives that the man had asked for a drink of water, which he had taken in two glasses before leaving.
Family members of Jared insisted that he never would have vanished on his own volition. He had a reliable job and was a devoted father to his two daughters. Being a single father wasn’t easy, but his family was great, and Heather would watch the girls for him when he had to travel for work. No matter how difficult it was, he wouldn’t just walk away, according to his mother. Beyond everything, he was devoted to his girls.
In a desperate attempt to locate Jared, his family created flyers for the missing and distributed them on Wednesday in the Clinton County area close to where his truck was discovered. They begged that anyone with information get in touch with the police or them.
A week went by with no communication from Jared. The family planned a search of the Jolliff Bridge Road area on Saturday, July 9, in the hopes of learning more about Jared’s whereabouts. An airplane flew overhead, scanning the ground with ATVs and horses as volunteers looked for anything they might have missed. There were no hints as to what had become of Jared. “It isn’t like my brother to just disappear…we’re just really worried and want him home,” Heather said to reporters.
Reporters were informed by Jersey County Sheriff Mark Kallel that there was little to go on in terms of information. “We’re keeping up the work…Even though we’re trying everything, we’re not making much progress.
Jared’s phone had not been used since the night he went missing, according to cell phone records; it had last pingped a Centralia cell tower at 9:30 p.m. After that, investigators were unable to locate it via pinging because it had either been turned off or its battery had run out. Although search dogs were brought to Jolliff Bridge Road, they were not able to follow Jared’s trail. The investigation was in danger of coming to a dead end after only one week.
The relatives of Jared suffered greatly from the lack of knowledge. “You just feel so lost, just helpless,” Pat acknowledged. Yes, Heather said. “At the moment, we are emotionally spent and fatigued.We are all sleeping hardly at all.
After two weeks of the investigation, not much had changed. Mike Kreke, the sheriff for Clinton County, claims that since Jared allegedly stopped and asked for directions and water, no one has seen him again. After that, there was no sign of him. That would be the last three months of cold weather.
On October 10, 2011, Jared’s black shoulder bag was discovered on the banks of Crooked Creek, approximately 1.5 miles from the location where his truck was discovered on Jolliff Bridge Road. Along with some of his clothes and a pair of shoes, Jared’s wallet, phone, video camera, tools, and keys were all found in the bag. The objects were positively identified as belonging to Jared by family members.
The investigation was sparked by the finding of Jared’s possessions. The Crooked Creek area was searched for hours by the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, volunteers, and cadaver dogs; however, they were unable to locate any additional evidence relevant to the investigation.
The case had stalled by January of 2012. Clinton County Crimestoppers announced that they were offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Jared in an attempt to attract some new tips. “We are hoping that this reward may bring someone forward so that we have a direction to focus our resources,” stated Clinton County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mark Etter. But there were few tips, and the investigation quickly stalled.
In July 2012, Jared’s family observed the somber first anniversary of his abduction. Dealing with his loss had not become any easier with time; Pat told a reporter, “It’s hard.” Both his girls and we miss him. Though too young to fully understand the circumstances, Jared’s two daughters still thought about their father every day, so Heather had taken on the role of caregiver while he was away.
On July 2, 2012, a candlelight vigil was held at Jerseyville’s Lion’s Club City Park in honor of Jared. About fifty people showed up to pay tribute to Jared and reminisce about their happy times spent with him. Pat remarked, “Are we concerned? Very definitely. Does he need to go home? Yes, exactly, and it doesn’t matter how; we just want to be done. Until the day we locate him, there will be complete chaos.
Though Chief Deputy Etter stated he was optimistic that the publicity surrounding the anniversary would bring in some new leads, detectives were still completely stumped by Jared’s disappearance. “We are making every effort and investigating any information we come across.” Regretfully, no fresh leads emerged.
There would be several more searches for Jared over the course of the following ten years, but no fresh evidence turned up, leaving his fate unknown and detectives unable to rule out any possibility in his disappearance.
It’s possible that Jared’s family, who has always thought he was the victim of foul play, is correct. Strangely, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department promptly gave Jared’s truck back to his family and didn’t hold it as possible evidence at first. Jared’s family members found the truck to be bothersome in two different ways. Even though Jared’s family had put some gas in the truck, it started right away, leading investigators to believe that the truck had been abandoned after running out of gas. A mechanic Heather spoke with said that if the truck had actually run out of gas, there would have been no way to start it short of priming the gas pedal several times to replenish the fuel supply. Because of this, Jared’s family thinks that the truck may have been purposefully left there, and that someone may have then siphoned the fuel to make it appear as though the truck had run out of gas.
When Jared vanished, his guitar and amplifier were in his truck; however, they were gone when the truck was found, and they have never been located. The inside of the truck appeared to have been ransacked, according to Heather, suggesting that robbery could be a possible motive in this case.
Regretfully, Jared’s mother passed away in 2020 without ever finding out what had become of her cherished son. After Jared vanished, Heather adopted both of his girls and has never stopped looking for her brother. She is determined to find out what happened to him. She deserves an explanation, as do Jared’s now-adolescent daughters.
In July 2011, Jared Hanna, then 28 years old, vanished from Centralia, Illinois. His family doesn’t think he abandoned his two young daughters voluntarily because he was a devoted father to them. Jared weighed 195 pounds and stood 5 feet 9 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes when he vanished. He has two scars: one on the heel of his right foot and one on the back of his head. When last seen, he was sporting sneakers, jean shorts, and a T-shirt. Please call the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department at 618-594-4555 or Clinton County Crim*estoppers at 618-594-66666 if you have any information about Jared. For information that leads to Jared’s whereabouts or the identification, apprehension, and conviction of the person responsible for his disappearance, there is a $5,000 reward.