Texas Rangers Bring Family Justice in 1988 Cold Case Murder

AUSTIN – More than 30 years after the crime, the Texas Rangers Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program (UCIP) has helped secure a conviction in the 1988 killing of Patricia Ann Howell Jacobs.

On Sept. 20, 2022, Daniel Andrew MacGinnis entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to serve 20 years for her murder. That sentence will run concurrently with a previous 199-year sentence on unrelated drug and weapons charges in Tyler County.

Back on Oct. 6, 1988, Jacobs’ body was found in the Neches River in Port Arthur, Texas. She was last seen the previous evening at the Silver Spur nightclub in Silsbee. A month later, her driver’s license and other personal items were located under a bridge near Kountze, Texas. Investigators identified MacGinnis as a suspect after two other incidents involving women but did not have enough evidence to charge him in Jacobs’ case.

Then, in 2018, Jacobs’ family reached out to the Texas Rangers UCIP. The Rangers believed further investigation was needed and officially reopened the case in October 2018. Through the new investigation, clothing that had never been DNA-tested and other items were identified and the evidence was submitted to the Houston DPS Crime Lab for testing and retesting. The new DNA evidence was then entered into the Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS), which identified a “hit” on MacGinnis.

After an interview and confirmation of the DNA evidence, he was arrested and eventually charged with Jacobs’ murder in Jefferson County.

During the murder trial, MacGinnis entered a guilty plea and it was accepted.

The Texas Rangers would like to thank the Port Arthur Police Department for assisting in this investigation and helping bring justice for Patricia Ann Howell Jacobs, as well as the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office for their hard work and prosecution of this case.

The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program was created to assist Texas law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved homicides or violent serial crimes. Since there is no statute of limitations on the offense of murder, investigators pursue these cases to a successful resolution or until no viable leads remain.

The Texas Rangers’ Cold Case website provides information on more than 125 cases in an effort to garner public interest in unsolved or cold cases. Texas Crime Stoppers offers rewards (funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division and administered by DPS) of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for any Ranger cold case listed on the website. For more information, visit the Texas Rangers’ Cold Case website.

Additional Photos:

Patricia Ann Howell Jacobs
McGinnis
Daniel McGinnis

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