Ella Diebolt Jackson was reported missing by her husband, 39-year-old Professor Glen Jackson, on October 22, 2019. Glen Jackson reportedly worked as an honors instructor at Eastern Kentucky University, teaching English and honors rhetoric, but lost his job several months earlier in February 2019.
Ella Jackson, a 48-year-old English professor at the University of Kentucky, disappeared on October 20, 2019 and left behind her 5-year-old son, her pet dog to whom she needed to administer daily medication and all of her personal possessions, including her cell phone. She was last seen at her home in Richmond, Kentucky and had made no preparations to imply that she had premeditated or prepared to leave of her own accord.
The missing woman’s social media accounts focused heavily on her family and young son and other profiles showcased a creative side, with interests in art and interior design and a profile on upwork.com advertising her skills as a Russian-English and English-Russian translator. Ella Jackson was Russian born but fled to nearby Ukraine to escape an abusive relationship. She relocated to the United States to study, work and eventually start a family of her own. She met her current husband in 2015 and although she expressed doubts about her marriage to friends, she tried her best to make it work for her child.
Prior to marrying Glen Jackson, she was married to another Kentucky-based professor named Jason Hans, who taught family sciences at the University of Kentucky. Hans had tragically lost his first wife to homicide, but he and Ella found solace in each other and would go on to develop a lifelong friendship.
The pair had remained close after their divorce over a decade ago and Hans appeared in an 18 News segment after Ella’s disappearance asking: “Who goes away without their child, without their son, without their car, and doesn’t contact the people they’re in contact with on a daily basis?”
Her older son, Phillip Hans, also showed concern, stating that his mother was in contact with him daily and it was extremely out of character for her to cease contact.
Suspicion quickly fell on Ella’s current husband, Professor Glen Jackson. Several days before Ella went missing, she had met with a domestic abuse worker as well as an attorney to escape her abusive marriage. Ella lived in fear of Glen Jackson and had spoken to friends about it, including her dear friend and ex-husband, Jason Hans. In a lengthy Facebook update posted April 24, 2020, Hans shared text messages that offered a terrifying glimpse into a world of fear and abuse that Ella Diebolt Jackson had found herself in once again:
“The messages and rushed phone calls were all too regular in recent years: "I need your help," "I am very scared, " "I am scared to the point of not being ok to get out of the bedroom to get a cup of milk or change my tampon," " I am being awakened at almost 3 in the morning and dragged through the house," "It is getting seriously scary [and] I am very worried about my child and myself" he wrote.
“Not to alarm you badly, but if something happens to me that might look like an accident, don’t believe it” she wrote in an ominous txt not long before her disappearance.
She would ask her ex-husband and friends not to send her messages about her situation unless she messaged them first, she would also apologize and tell them that she would have to delete the conversations after each session in fear of her husband finding out about her plans to escape him and their violent marriage.
Ella’s older son, Phillip, stated that some of the messages he sent to his mother were left on read some days after her disappearance, indicating that Glen had access to her phone.
Glen Jackson appeared to cooperate with the police, unaware that he was the one and only suspect in Ella’s disappearance. Initially he claimed that Ella requested some space and asked him to take their child and give her some alone time at home but upon his return she was gone. The missing woman’s friends did not buy the story, they said she had never spent a night away from her son and were suspicious that she would not take her own car if she did voluntarily leave. It just did not make sense.
“She loves her son more than life itself” Hans told the media.
Glen Jackson was arrested April 24, 2020 and charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence and domestic violence. Warrants were issued to search the couple’s home on Westwood Drive in Richmond, Kentucky as well as their vehicles, leading police to find a significant amount of blood in the trunk of Glen Jackson’s car that later tested to be that of his wife, Ella Jackson.
Police also discovered numerous recordings of fights the couple had, which Ella had been secretly recording.
According to a post made to his Facebook account, Jason Hans gained guardianship of Ella’s son last month.
Ella’s body has not been found but she is presumed dead by police.