A Virginia father’s remains were found on Thursday in a heavily wooded area three days after his car slid into a ditch during Monday’s winter storm, prompting him to try to make the six-mile trek home in the snow to be with his 2-year-old son.
Jacob Whaley, 34, was driving home from work around 5:00 p.m. when his car got stuck. He told his family that he was going to walk home, but texted his mother hours later at 8:46 p.m. that he was lost.
That’s the last communication that Whaley had with his family, who immediately reported him missing to multiple law enforcement agencies.
Angela Whaley, Jacob’s sister, said that she was able to track his cell phone to an area around Greene’s Corner Rd in Louisa County.
“I pinged his last known location,” Whaley told Fox News Digital. “[My mom] gave them the general area that he was in, because she was on the phone with him up until a certain point.”
The Louisa County Sheriff’s Office said that deputies “immediately responded to the family’s request to check both the roadside area along Greene’s Corner Rd, the roadways in between and his residence multiple times over the next few days.”
“It was not until January 6th that Mr. Whaley was located in the woods approximately 209 yards off the roadway in a very dense pine plantation near Greene’s Corner Rd,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Friday.
Angela said that Jacob’s body was found about two miles away from his home and his car was about six miles away from his home, but she thinks he would still be alive if authorities had acted faster.
“They refused to do their jobs,” she wrote on Facebook the day after his body was found. “Had they searched the area my mom told them my brother was in on Monday night when he said he was lost his life could have been saved.”
The Louisa County Sheriff’s Department said that missing person cases “are always a top priority” and they share the Whaley family’s “grief and sorrow.”
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Jacob Whaley,” the sheriff’s office said.
Angela said that Jacob’s death is like deja vu for her family, as they had to bury another sibling after a tragedy.
“[Jacob] was a very honest person. He loved to laugh and be with kids. He loved his nieces and nephews and his family,” she said.