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News / Northwest

Man accused of dumping pregnant girlfriend’s body in Columbia River charged with murder

By Cameron Probert, Tri-City Herald
Published: March 31, 2023, 8:28am

Richard Jacobsen is returning to Benton County about six months after his longtime girlfriend went missing from her Kennewick apartment.

A Multnomah County, Ore. judge ruled the 34-year-old man can be brought back to Kennewick to face second-degree murder charges in Benton County Superior Court.

Brandy Ebanez’s friends and family celebrated the news on Facebook after months of waiting for Jacobsen to be returned.

Jacobsen, who also spells his last name Jacobson, is accused of killing Ebanez inside a Kennewick Avenue apartment before dumping her body in the Columbia River.

An off-duty Kennewick police officer found her remains while fishing just east of the cable bridge on Sept. 27. She was naked, wrapped in black plastic sheeting and weighed down by landscaping rocks.

The 34-year-old mother of two also was 16 to 20 weeks pregnant at the time she died.

Three nationwide warrants were issued for Jacobsen, including two related to violating protection orders that were supposed to keep him away from her.

He was arrested while driving her green Honda Civic in Portland two days after her body was discovered.

Inside they found a glove that tested positive for blood, as well as small pieces of brick in the trunk.

Ebanez’s mother has taken custody of their two children, who had been staying with his family in Oregon.

Previous assault reports

Friends have said Ebanez was in an abusive relationship with Jacobsen, and that he cut her off from contacting friends.

Court documents show that apartment complex neighbors reported hearing the couple arguing frequently.

Earlier in April, Ebanez called police after he grabbed her by the hair, pulled her off the bed and strangled her until she passed out, according to court documents.

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A month later, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a month in jail, which he had already served and to undergo mental health treatment.

The judge ordered him to stay 500 feet away from the apartment he shared with Ebanez and their girls, who were 12 and 9 at the time.

But on Sept. 5, police found him at the apartment after allegedly attacking a neighbor. He was charged with assault and violating a protection order.

He was initially being held on $5,000 bail, but he was allowed to be released on Sept. 9.

Court documents don’t detail when Jacobsen returned to the apartment or what day he is suspected of killing her.

Ebanez’s disappearance

Their daughters told police they came home from school to hear their parents arguing loudly in the bedroom. The argument stretched into the night. The date was unclear.

The girls went to bed but one remembered hearing a noise like plastic breaking, and then her father opening his toolbox.

She said she saw her father repairing a fan with some tape, said court documents.

He was seen on a security camera at Home Depot on Sept. 21 buying trash bags, duct tape and planter wall bricks. The bricks reportedly matched the ones tied to Ebanez’s body.

A trace of his daughter’s cellphone showed it at Columbia Park between 4:50 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Sept. 22.

The next morning, he told the girls that their mother had left with some other man to do drugs, according to court documents.

He then packed up the girls and they drove to Oregon to same with a relative.