June 18, 2012

03/06/12: Philip Jobst, 24, Carbondale, IL

Philip Jobst is missing.

Philip Jobst in Dec. 2011
Philip Jobst, 24, is a second year law student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where fellow law students say he is intelligent, witty, and very well liked.

Jobst's friends last spoke to him on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. That night, at 10:07 p.m., his silver 2011 4-door Kia was found abandoned on the Chester Bridge with its flashers on. The bridge, which is roughly 20 miles from Jobst's residence and school, crosses the Mississippi River and links Illinois with Missouri.

Aside from his abandoned car, no trace of Phil Jobst has been found. According to a blog by one of Jobst's friends, Jobst's cell phone was found in the trash at his apartment.

Authorities fear that Jobst may have fallen or jumped off the Chester Bridge into the Mississippi River. He is presumed dead, but police say the investigation will remain open. On March 9 and 10, the Illinois Department of Conservation police searched the river by boat using sonar and grappling hooks, but turned up nothing.

About Philip Jobst

Friends struggle to understand how Jobst, the only student who came to class every day in a full suit and tie, could do something as rash as leaving his car behind, or worse.

After graduating Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, N.C. in 2010 with a degree in mathematics, Jobst came to SIU. His law school friends say he is "extremely intelligent" and has a bright future ahead of him.

While most students were battling through law school, and "rigorously preparing for each class out of sheer terror," said good friend Seth Jackson, "Phil could just show up and blow us all away." (The Southern, 3/8/12).

Jobst is known to be a highly motivated individual, not only getting into law school but, more recently, wanting to better himself. He was excited about losing 70 pounds while in law school and spent his Jan. 9 birthday at the mall in Cape Giradeau with friend Wesley Clark. He was excited at not having to shop in the plus size section anymore. And on Feb. 24, Jobst posted on Facebook that he had bought new jeans and was happy he was losing weight.

In addition to working on his weight loss goals, Jobst had a one-hour session with Clark's father, a speech therapist, to work on a speech impediment. Clark told SIU's student newspaper, the Daily Egyptian, that Jobst took the tips he had been given for better pronunciation and practiced them constantly.

"Not even two days later," says Clark, "Phil had taken what he learned and completely removed his speech impediment."

Clark's father and classmates were shocked to see how rapidly Jobst's speech had improved, Clark told the paper. "He was very articulate and spoke like a true professional," says Clark.

By all accounts, Phil Jobst's life was headed in the right direction and he seemed to be making positive changes. He also had plans for the future. Seth Jackson told The Southern that he had last spoken to his friend on Tuesday, the night he disappeared, and "he said he was going to the Carolinas for spring break," said Jackson.

Jobst's last Facebook entry, recorded on the day he disappeared, was a little contemplative in nature, but there was really nothing to indicate that he seemed to be depressed or suicidal:

"Was at Walgreen's today. I was picking up some aspirin, and I was thinking that I wish that on such a beautiful day that I wouldn't have such a bad headache. The cashier asked the person in front of me if she would like to donate a dollar or five to the MDA. She gave a dollar, I checked out and the cashier asked if there was anything else, and I said I would donate five to the MDA. It made me think of when I headed up the LAMB (least among my brethren program) with Council 6700 in Gastonia, and it reminded me of a speech I gave before the council and LAMB participants that we had no need for labels and that we should just look at it as helping our friends. Now I have realized that they are not the least among us but in fact the greatest among us because they are ever more aware of their dependence on the grace of God."
Jobst's friend, Bryan, wrote on his blog, "When Phil and I spoke on Tuesday evening, just hours before his abandoned car would be found, everything sounded normal. We were laughing about some legal stuff, talking about his upcoming visit, and he seemed in his usual, uplifting spirits. His mood was almost always better than most peoples'. In parting, he said he had to run, but we would catch up more the next day. Now me, and all of his friends likewise, are left in the dust, wondering what must have been going on that he kept hidden beneath the surface that was so much that he couldn't bear it."

Family members held a memorial mass for Jobst at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Carterville on Mar. 12.

In the obituary she prepared for her brother, Maggie Jobst said that her brother’s quick wit and creative sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him.

“Phillip Jobst was a brilliant, funny and caring young man. He enjoyed his studies at SIU law school, spending time with friends and family, engaging in lively debates and playing chess,” she said.

He was honored by the law school on Mar. 20.

Chester Chief of Police Don McKinney said he will not confirm Jobst’s death until he finds his body.

“It’s an open investigation until we close it by recovery, or him admitting that he’s somewhere else,” McKinney said. “This could be an open investigation for years.”

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Philip Jobst is asked to contact the Chester Police Department at 618-826-5454.

Case Details
Name/age: Phillip W. Jobst, 24
Hometown: North Carolina
Residence: Murphysboro, Illinois
College: Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Last Seen: 03/6/12
Investigating Agency: Chester Police Department, 618-826-5454


Anonymous. (2012, March 9). Loss of a legend. Rants, Raves and Random Thoughts blog. Retrieved June 18, 2012 from http://rantsravesandrandom.blogspot.com/2012/03/loss-of-legend.html.

Kulash, Tara. (2012, March 8). SIU student reported missing. Daily Egyptian. Retrieved June 18, 2012 from http://dailyegyptian.com/2012/03/08/siu-student-reported-missing/.

Rush, Linda. (2012, March 8). SIU law student missing. The Southern. Retrieved June 18, 2012 from

Staff Writer. (2012, March 14). Murphysboro man still missing after seven days. Murphysboro American. Retrieved June 18, 2012 from http://www.murphysboroamerican.com/news/x872938714/Murphysboro-man-still-missing-after-seven-days.


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