It was a seemingly normal day in June of 2001. A ng man helped his younger brother with the garbage cans before heading off to meet a coworker for a ride. Somewhere along that short, half-mile walk, that young man vanished. What happened to Jason Jolkowski? Let’s explore.
Who Is Jason?
Jason Anthony Jolkowski was born on June 24, 1981 in Grand Island, Nebraska. Though he did experience some communication difficulties throughout his childhood – particularly when it came to speech and language expression- Jason is a highly intelligent person. His mother described him as being quite shy, preferring to keep a small group of friends. In 2001, Jason was 19 years old. He stood at around 6’1” tall and weighed around 165 lbs. He has brown hair and brown eyes. At the time, he had a job at a local Fazoli’s fast food restaurant, though he was set to start a new job at a local radio station in mid to late June of 2001.
On June 13, 2001, Jason Jolkowski’s manager called him into work earlier than expected. His car was undergoing work at a local mechanic, and because the shift was unplanned, Jason had to make arrangements for a ride. He appeared to have originally planned on walking to work that day, but called the restaurant to say he would be getting a ride with a coworker. Jason agreed to meet this coworker at the local high school, as it was easier than giving directions over the phone.
At 10:45, Jason was seen bringing garbage cans in from the curb. This was the last definitive sighting of Jason Jolkowski. At around 11:15, Jason’s coworker called his house to ask where he was, as he was late in meeting her. Security cameras at the school do not show Jason ever arriving to campus. Jason’s family reported him missing after waiting for 24-hours (which was a common “waiting period” put in place by many police departments back in the day – I’m unsure if they were told directly by police to wait). Police waited over a week – with most sources stating the timeframe as nine days – before beginning to investigate Jason’s disappearance. And by the time nine days had gone by…any clues were long gone.
This is one of the most baffling missing persons cases I’ve looked into so far, for a few reasons. The fact that Jason disappeared in a fifteen-minute window in the light of day with no clues seems unfathomable. The fact that the investigation was so delayed likely led to the loss of any clues that might have been found. All we really have at this point is speculation. After searching through other case write ups and discussion threads, I’ve come up with three theories – which, again, are not based on evidence, but instead are based on the situation.
The first theory is that Jason was the victim of a hit and run accident that left him either dead or with life-threatening injuries. In order for this theory to make sense, the driver of the offending car would have had to remove Jason from the scene and hide him somewhere to avoid prosecution. Or Jason suffered a head injury that resulted in amnesia, which led him away from his life. Something random like this is always possible, but no one in the neighborhood reported hearing or seeing a vehicle accident in the middle of the day. Surely if a car hit a person, someone nearby would have heard? Debris would have been left at the scene? Of course, that debris could have been cleaned or scattered by the elements in the time it took the police to begin investigating.
A second theory that often pops up on message boards in particular is that Jason was offered a ride from someone with ill intent. We have no evidence that anyone wanted to harm Jason, but the motive could have been something impersonal like robbery. As this theory goes, Jason was walking when someone stopped and offered a ride. He agreed, the driver made their demands, and things went wrong. Then, the driver killed Jason either by accident or on purpose, worried he would tell about the encounter. The driver then hid Jason somewhere yet unfound.
The third theory is a bit of an amalgamation of the two previously discussed. Maybe Jason was intentionally struck by a car or picked up in a case of mistaken identity. When the perpetrator realized Jason wasn’t who they thought he was, they killed and obscured his remains to hide their crime.
It’s impossible to have even an inkling towards what theory is right here. As much as I want to believe that Jason is alive out there somewhere, I don’t think he would have left his family in the dark for this long if he knew who he was. At the same time, I don’t think he would have been able to make it far from any accident scene without being seen and recognized, let alone not being recognized for so many years after.
This case feels as if it’s ice cold with no leads, but I have to believe that someone holds the key here. Someone in Omaha saw something that day, or knows someone who let something slip. If you or anyone you know have any information regarding Jason’s disappearance, please contact the Omaha police department in reference to Case Number RB85214T. Their point of contact for this case is James Reisinger, who can be reached at 402-444-5818. Jason deserves peace and his family deserves answers. If you know something, come forward.