IDAHO FALLS — Matthew “Jed” Hall’s 19th birthday is Thursday but investigators and family continue searching for answers as to where he is and why he vanished.
In the early hours of Jan. 22, 2018, a then 16-year-old Jed left his parents Idaho Falls home. The teen stopped by his school, left a note and cash for a friend and then disappeared. Since then, police and a private investigator have followed leads nationwide in an effort to find Jed.
“The last almost three years have been hell,” Amy Hall, Jed’s mother, told EastIdahoNews.com. “Not knowing is really awful.”
She explained the morning her son vanished started just like any other but as Amy Hall got ready for work, one thing stuck out. Jed’s bedroom door was left open and a note indicating he may attempt suicide was on his desk. The mother rushed to wake up her husband, Allen Hall, a former Idaho Falls Police Officer.
The parents called 911 at 6:51 a.m. to report Jed as missing and possibly suicidal. As police began searching for Jed, Amy and Allen got in their cars to search for their son. The pair looked everywhere they could think Jed may be.
“It was black madness,” Allen Hall said. “It was just insanity. No lead, nothing. Just all of a sudden, he’s gone.”
As the Halls searched for their son, police tried pinging Jed’s cellphone numerous times. At 6:48 a.m., Jed’s phone pinged from a cellphone tower near the interchange of Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 20, a location along the Snake River. After that, the phone went dead.
Dive teams and investigators have searched the river in the area to no avail.
Police issued a public alert for a 2009 Silver Nissan Versa hatchback, the car Jed is believed to have left in. At 11:47 a.m., IFPD entered Jed into the National Criminal Information Center database as a missing juvenile. His photo was widely circulated online and through media outlets across eastern Idaho.
“This was a little different than a normal run away,” Idaho Falls Police Sgt. John Marley said. “Usually when we get reports of a runaway, they’ve just gone and are possibly with a friend and we find them later on that day.”
Marley explained Jed had a notebook indicating depressed feelings but also plans of what to pack for a backcountry excursion. The notebook listed several steps, one of which seemed to have played out to some extent before Jed disappeared.
Surveillance footage at American Heritage Charter School, where Jed was a student, showed him pulling up in the Nissan. The time was 2:31 a.m. and the video shows Jed breaking a window, going straight to a friend’s locker, leaving a note, a large sum of money and a necklace.
It’s not clear what happened for the next several hours before Jed’s phone when silent.
With little to go on and still no luck in finding Jed, the Halls hired private investigator James Terry in March. Since then, Terry has developed theories – one that includes Jed’s friends knowing what happened the day he disappeared.
“I believe Jed Hall had help,” Terry said. “There is no way he would’ve been able to do this without help … If you’re out there and you’ve seen Jed Hall, the car or you know where he was going to go and I can verify any aspect of it … I’ll bring you $25,000 in cash.”
The money comes from a reward Terry established to help locate Jed and find answers to the teen’s disappearance.
“We have to look at everything in its totality,” Marley said. “We’re hopeful that he’s alive and living somewhere else.”
While the search for Hall continues, Amy and Allen Hall think about him every day and want him found.
“Come home,” Allen Hall said. “Happy birthday. We got things to do and lots of exciting times ahead.”
Those with information about Jed’s whereabouts or the car are asked to contact the Idaho Falls Police Department at (208) 529-1200. Terry also says you can give him tips at (813) 993-2242.