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He Was a Drop-Out With Few Skills—Except for a Dark One

The 'Cincinnati Enquirer' looks at the case of Cody Jackson in a 4-part series
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2018 1:14 PM CDT
This undated file photo provided by the Salt Lake County Jail, in Ohio, shows Cody Jackson.   (Salt Lake County Jail via AP, File)

(Newser) – Another newspaper is out with a serialized crime story: This time, Kevin Grasha and Cameron Knight of the Cincinnati Enquirer present the four-part story of Cody Jackson, who is introduced as, by 2014, having "an eighth-grade education, two children, no job, no permanent home, no plan, and few skills"—at the age of 18. But he did have one skill, and a dark one at that: "He knew how to lure fragile young women into relationships by promising safety, attention and love," and he had a father who willingly and repeatedly sent him money, "which allowed him to drive endlessly through multiple states with little concern about the cost." Grasha and Knight's first two parts, published Monday and Tuesday, track Jackson across the country, with women—or, in some cases, underage girls—in tow.

He would start by professing his love and discussing their future together; then he'd turn on them, instituting extreme rules: The women could only use their phones on speakerphone with Jackson present. They couldn't look at people in public. They had to close their eyes if a TV character was scantily clad. He was once angered when a woman watched a TV commercial that featured wrestlers who were more muscular than he was. On Aug. 27, 2014, things started to unravel: Two women he had been keeping in an Ohio hotel room decided to escape while he was out; though they had a phone, they were initially too afraid to use it to dial 911. After spotting Jackson driving around looking for them, they finally did. Police located Jackson but didn't arrest him. Less than a week later, he left Wisconsin with another girl—a 15-year-old. Part three will run Wednesday. (In the meantime, read this incredible serialized crime story.)

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