Murder and Family Drama: The Haunting History Behind This Famous Colorado Ranch
A real estate listing on ranchflip.com describes Colorado's 7-11 Ranch as a "spectacular horse ranch" with a "2,300+ square foot 'lodge' that sleeps ten" in the idyllic Gunnison County.
While those statements aren't untrue, the property is actually famous for a much darker reason: the murder of 29-year-old Jacob "Jake" Millison.
According to The Atlantic, Millison disappeared from his family ranch in May 2015. His mother, Deborah Rudibaugh, told Jake's friends that he was in Nevada for mixed-martial-arts training.
Her story would shift over the years, but on July 17, 2017, authorities found a body — wrapped in a tarp, under a manure pile — on the 7-11 Ranch.
The Denver Post reports Deborah eventually confessed that she, alone, murdered her son by shooting him in the head. Her confession later proved to be somewhat untrue.
Deborah did indeed kill Jake with a gun, but she wasn't the sole perpetrator. According to Dateline (via 2paragraphs), Jake's sister, Staphaine "Stephanie" Jackson, is serving 24 years in prison for tampering with a dead body. Jackson's husband, Dave, is serving a 10-year sentence for helping to move the body.
Deborah received a 40-year sentence, but she died in jail in 2019.
How could a family conspire to murder their own? Investigators believe that family arguments over inheritance and ownership of the ranch likely led to Jake's untimely death.
Jake's friends, who consistently pushed law enforcement about his disappearance, are ultimately credited with getting justice for Jake. In 2020, one of his friends told The Atlantic that he still thinks about Jake every day.