IDAHO FALLS — After two years, the disappearance of Mathew “Jed” Hall has become even stranger.
Jed, then 16 years old, disappeared Jan. 22, 2018, and has not been seen since. Newly released surveillance footage from American Heritage Charter School reveals the last time Jed was seen, and now a private investigator is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information pertaining to Jed’s whereabouts.
The footage shows Jed decked out in what appears to be combat boots, knee pads and eye and ear protection as he breaks into American Heritage Charter School.
“(The surveillance video) will show us how incredibly stealthy, smart and focused this young man was,” Jim Terry said.
Terry is the private investigator for Gulf Coast Investigation hired by the Hall family to aid in the search for Jed. He is also the person offering the $10,000 reward.
“This isn’t a girl with daddy issues that took off to Los Angeles to be an actress. This is something way bigger, to the degree where it’s almost like the more you peel back the onion, the more layers you get,” Terry said.
Allen Hall, Jed’s father, confirmed Terry’s depiction of Jed.
“He was definitely a planner and knew that you had to analyze things. Like playing chess, shall we say,” Allen said. “He is definitely a bright kid. We had him lined up to go to the Air Force Academy. He’s no dummy, let’s just say that.”
The footage shows Jed spent less than a minute inside the school and besides the broken window, he didn’t cause any other damage. What he does is almost more shocking.
“He went and broke into the high school and left the girl that had just turned him down $1,000 cash by putting it in her locker,” Terry said.
Terry said he was able to access Jed’s social media accounts and discovered through reading conversations between Jed and his friends that Jed had a strong crush on the girl in question.
“His culmination of the last days in his parents’ custody, basically come down to asking this girl if she would be his girlfriend. She told him no. The guy that she liked did not want to be her boyfriend. So it was a triangle where the dog’s tail was chasing the dog. And that was where he made his decision to leave,” Terry said.
Jed’s parents said they knew about the girl but didn’t know that he had such strong feelings for her.
“We knew he liked her. He would stop at her place of work after he got off of work and visit with her for long periods of time. So we knew that he was interested, but when I asked, he said, ‘Oh, she’s just a girl who’s a friend.’ But he had lots of girls who were friends,” Amy Hall, Jed’s mother said.
Terry believes that it’s that relationship he had with a number of his female friends that may have gotten him into trouble. Terry has a theory — one that Jed’s parents and the police are skeptical about.
According to Terry, Jed had another female friend who had allegedly been molested. Terry theorizes that Jed knew about it and decided to get back at the perpetrator.
The night Jed disappeared there was a shooting in Idaho Falls, according to Idaho Falls Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Clements. A car was supposedly shot up in a driveway of a person who allegedly knew one of Jed’s female friends.
Terry believes that one of Jed’s friends had been molested by this individual, he found out about it, and this was his way of getting back at the person.
“So Jed, in one night, evades his parents, drops $1,000 off to his best friend girl at school who he was in love with, tries to avenge his best girlfriend … possibly shot up the place and left for two years and nobody’s ever been able to see him or the vehicle again,” Terry said.
Jed was reportedly armed that night. However, Clements said the department would not confirm if Jed had ever been a suspect or person of interest in the shooting as it is still an active investigation.
Jed’s parents don’t believe he was involved in the shooting. They believe it was just a coincidence, but that’s not the only reason they don’t believe he was involved.
“Jed was skilled enough that if he wanted to hurt somebody — in the technical and tactical sense — that wouldn’t have been something that he wasn’t capable of. He wouldn’t have done it — I don’t believe he would have done it. But his ability — he was a pretty well-trained kid,” Allen said.
Jed’s family believes that training has played a role in keeping him alive over the last two years despite Jed leaving a suicide note.
Terry believes Jed’s suicide note was a misdirect so people wouldn’t look for him.
“You don’t do the types of things Jed did by leaving just to shoot yourself. One of the things Jed took that totally contradicts the suicide note was a bulletproof vest,” Terry said. “That’s not the kind of thing you take if you’re going to commit suicide.”
Another clue Terry believes shows that Jed is still alive is that on Jan. 27, 2018, just a few days after Jed disappeared, the license plate of the car he was driving was looked up in the police database by a detective in Stockton, California.
Clements said the Idaho Falls Police knew about the hit on the license plate and had looked into it.
“When Jed went missing, we sent out an ‘attempt to locate’ to agencies around our state and states around the North West, so all of the surrounding states, including California,” Clements said.
She said multiple agencies ran the license plate as standard practice when receiving an attempt to locate.
“It was followed up on, and our understanding is that was why. It wasn’t because the car was found there. It was just part of that attempt to locate,” Clements said.
Terry disagrees. He says the detective that ran the plate was a gang investigator and wouldn’t have been involved in an attempt to locate.
Terry said Idaho Falls detectives did reach out to police in Stockton, but that they never received a response.
“They found out it was hit there. They made an inquisition down there. Well, they found the paperwork where the detective two years ago made the inquisition, and there was never a follow-up on it,” Terry said.
Terry said he spoke to the California detective. He said she couldn’t remember why she made the inquisition but that it was either because the car was parked somewhere strange or where it didn’t belong or that she simply typed in a license plate number wrong, and it came up as Jed’s.
Although Terry and the IFPD may disagree on what happened, Clements said they just want Jed found.
“If this generates leads, we’re all for it. The goal is to find him and verify that he’s OK and what happened to him. So if he’s out there somewhere, and somebody knows where he is, that’s all that we care about,” Clements said.
She asked that if anyone does have information to call the IFPD dispatch line (208) 529-1200 and ask to speak to a detective.
Terry is confident Jed is somewhere in or around Stockton, California. He also believes that whomever Jed is staying with may not know that he is missing. Because of this, he is putting up a $10,000 reward for anyone with information.
“If anybody out there has any information on Jed Hall, his vehicle, his whereabouts or anything associated with this young man’s travels or his plight over the last two years, please call Gulf Coast Investigation,” Terry said. “My telephone number is (813) 993-2242.”
Jed’s parents said they just want him to come home.
“Come home. Everything’s OK. There’s no problems with the school. The school is taken care of. There’s just no problems. Come home. All is well. We want you back in the worst way,” Allen said.