Cold Case Files

Susan Jacobson mysteriously went missing in May 2013

The Roseville Police Department reopens the Susan Jacobson missing person case #2013-4611

susan jacobson

Susan Jacobson went missing from the Raley’s Grocery Store at Woodcreek Oaks Blvd. and Pleasant Grove Blvd. in May of 2013.



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Mrs. Jacobson disappeared and was never seen or heard from again.

We’re highlighting this case and the work of our cold case investigations program in hopes of:

  • finding additional evidence
  • encouraging the community to come forward with new information
  • utilize advancements in technology to process any old or new pieces of evidence

Detective Dave Harlan is assigned to the Jacobson Cold Case. The Roseville Police Department Investigations Unit has many facets. Within the Unit, Detective Dave Harlan is the Departments assigned lead for previously unsolved person crimes cases.

The following is a series of questions and answers about our cold case program and the hard work done by detective Harlan.

What is a “cold case?”

A cold case is an unsolved investigation, usually involving a homicide, missing person, or unidentified human remains.  These cases remain open pending the discovery of new leads or evidence.  They are usually considered “cold” when a period of time has gone by and they go unsolved.

What is the job of a cold case detective?

Detective Dave Harlan

The job of a cold case detective is to review the case in its entirety with a new set of “eyes.”  All aspects of the case are looked at including photographs, statements, video surveillance, media reports, and evidence.  Usually during this review, many questions arise and leads may be developed simply by connecting things that may have gone unnoticed in the past. 

When reviewing these cases, I bring in other people with different specialties to assist me.  For example, a representative from our CSI team can help me interpret evidence and determine if further testing of items would be beneficial.  The District Attorney’s office has criminal investigators that can help us with resources.  The FBI can assist with behavioral analysis and video enhancement.  The California Department of Justice can assist with DNA and other evidentiary issues.  At Roseville PD, we also have a volunteer, a retired Roseville PD lieutenant who has been assisting me.  He has vast investigative experience and has developed a spreadsheet program that helps to organize complex cases.

How long have you worked for the Roseville Police Department and what special training do you have?

I have been with the Roseville PD for over 25 years and have been assigned to investigations for over 9 of those years as a detective.  As part of my training as a cold case detective I have attended numerous specialized training classes including homicide investigations, advanced homicide investigations, crime scene management, sexual assault investigations, and domestic violence investigations.  I have also attended numerous case presentations through the California Homicide Investigator’s Association where some of the most complex investigations into homicides and missing persons were presented by the detectives and prosecutors directly involved in them.  

Why has the Department reopened the Susan Jacobson Case?

We have decided to reopen this case because the longer a case goes unsolved, the more challenging it becomes to find fresh evidence or new leads. My job is to look deep into small nuances or use new and modern technology to uncover new leads to push forward.