An SIU law student has been missing since Tuesday, when his car was found parked on Chester Bridge with the hazard lights on.
The Chester Police Department received a call at 10:07 p.m. Tuesday about an abandoned car on the Mississippi River bridge and reported to the scene. The vehicle, a silver 2011 Kia, was registered to Phil Jobst, a first-year law student from North Carolina who was living in Murphysboro. Police joined the Chester Fire Department for rescue attempts and immediately launched a rescue boat. Both departments have been searching the Mississippi River for Jobst, but have not found him yet, according to a press release from the Chester police.
Maggie Jobst, Phil Jobst’s sister, said there will be a memorial mass at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Carterville.
In the obituary she prepared for her sibling, she said her brother’s quick wit and creative sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him.
“Phillip Jobst was a brilliant, funny and caring young man. He enjoyed his studies at SIU law school, spending time with friends and family, engaging in lively debates and playing chess,” she said.
Chester Chief of Police Don McKinney said he will not confirm Jobst’s death until he finds his body.
“It’s an open investigation until we close it by recovery, or him admitting that he’s somewhere else,” McKinney said. “This could be an open investigation for years.”
The Student Bar Association sponsored a candlelight vigil for Jobst Wednesday night outside the Lesar Law Building with about 100 attendees, according to the Southern Illinoisan.
Wesley Clark, a law student from Jamestown, Tenn., said he and Jobst were best friends.
“Since I’ve gotten to know Phil, he had really become motivated to better himself,” Clark said.
Jobst was overweight but managed to lose 70 pounds since they met when they started law school, he said. The two spent Jobst’s last birthday, Jan. 9, together and went to the mall in Cape Girardeau.
“He had finally lost enough weight that he didn’t have to shop in the plus section,” Clark said. “He was really excited about that.”
Another example of how driven Jobst could be was when he worked on his speech impediment, Clark said. Clark’s father is a speech therapist and had a one-hour session with
Jobst to work on his impediment, he said.
“Not even two days later, Phil had taken what he learned and completely removed his speech impediment,” Clark said. “My dad said he had never seen anyone work that fast.”
He said Jobst took the tips he’d been given, such as singing along to songs on the radio for better pronunciation, and practiced them for just about every waking minute.
When Jobst returned to school the next Monday, Clark said, his classmates were shocked to see how rapidly his speech had improved.
He said Jobst was very articulate and spoke like a true professional. He was a connoisseur of cigars, whiskey and good food, Clark said.
“I’ll miss him,” he said.
The Chester Police Department asks anyone with information about Jobst’s whereabouts to call 618-826-5454.