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Family, friends hold Justice for Jacob rally: 'It was truly a nightmare'

Posted at 3:13 PM, Jan 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-09 15:13:04-05

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. — Family and friends of the Louisa County man found dead Thursday held a rally outside the sheriff's office Saturday as they continue searching for answers.

Jacob Whaley was trying to walk home in the winter storm earlier in the week, according to family members.

The 34-year-old’s car slid into a ditch Monday night near the Spotsylvania and Louisa County line.

The father-of-one then began walking through the storm toward his home, but never made it.

His body was discovered by Louisa deputies about 200 yards into a thick, wooded area.

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Whaley's family maintains that not enough was done to find him.

As a result, family and friends held a Justice for Jacob protest in hopes of encouraging a higher priority and faster response in missing persons cases, according to organizers.

“I want them to know that it was very difficult to search for him because we just didn’t have the resources. And we don’t want that to happen to anybody else ever again,” family friend Stephanie Carter said. “It was truly a nightmare.”

RELATED: Dad walked through the snowstorm to be with his son. He never made it.

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Thursday night, a search party found the man dead more than 200 yards in the woods off Greenes Corner Road.

Both Hanover and Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Offices told CBS 6 their deputies searched for Whaley but were only able to search within their jurisdiction.

Louisa Sheriff Donnie Lowe said his deputies also searched for the missing man over several days and joined the search party.

The Louisa County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that deputies immediately responded to the Whaley family's request to search for Jacob and that missing persons cases are always a top priority for the department.

Sheriff Lowe said his team is reviewing documents and social media posts related to the situation.

The Whaley family set up a fundraiser for two-year-old Jacob Dawson. Funeral arrangements are not yet finalized.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.