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Montoursville native in custody; human remains found in Philly

A former Montoursville man has been arrested and charged with abuse of a corpse after human remains were discovered Monday afternoon in a storage unit in the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia, according to state police and media sources there.

Jade Gillette Babcock, 49, formerly of the 300 block of Jordan Avenue in the borough, was taken into custody in Philadelphia.

According to the KYW News Radio website in Philadelphia, “a woman walked into the state police barracks and informed troopers that she knew where the body of a missing mother of two could be found.”

Troopers received “a tip regarding a missing person investigation from 2003 out of Montoursville,” Trooper Andrew Martin said in a brief news release.

“Humans remains of an unidentified person were discovered inside a storage facility in Northeast Philadelphia. The remains have not been identified, however, an attempt to identify the victim through various means is underway,” he said. The discovery was made about 3:30 p.m.

However, 3CBS Philly reported on their website Tuesday night that police sources believe that the remains are those of Brenda Jacobs, a former girlfriend of Babcock’s who was reported missing from her Williamsport home back in 2003.

“A tip led troopers to the storage facility after a person of interest (in the missing person case) allegedly bragged about having locked away the remains of an ex-lover at the location. A witness to the alleged confession provided police with a detailed statement earlier this week,” 3CBS Philly reported.

The KYW Radio website reported that when troopers went to the storage locker, “they found the partial remains of a woman in a box.” KYW reported that a source told them “the victim’s legs had been removed.”

Investigators here are trying to determine if the remains discovered at the storage facility are at all connected with the “mummified” legs fishermen discovered on the north shore (the city side) of the Susquehanna River between the Hepburn Street pump station and Maynard Street on May 11. A left and right leg were discovered on the shore about 75 yards apart.

A forensic anthropologist in Erie determined this summer the legs that were those of a white woman, state police said in July.

Reached Tuesday night by telephone, Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. said he had heard through police sources of the remains discovered Monday in Philadelphia and that he was following the developments in the case.

The identity of the woman whose legs were discovered on the riverbank remained a mystery, he said.

Montoursville borough police said Babcock was no stranger to their department.

Officers were called to Babcock’s home on Jordan Avenue numerous times over the years, including January-February of last year when officers had more than a dozen contacts with him.

Most of the calls were domestic and intoxication problems, one borough police source said Tuesday night. Babcock was forced to move out of the Jordan Avenue property about a year ago after the borough’s codes department condemned the property, saying it was uninhabitable, the police source said.

It was believed Babcock moved out of the borough at that point, the source said.

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