I used to tell Riley, that no matter where we were, the man in the moon would be looking down on both of us.
Sarah Jean

Sarah Jean Mason was a notable character who appeared in Riding the Lightning as the partner and co-conspirator of serial killer Jacob Dawes.


Born in Florida, Sarah was the daughter of Deb Mason and her husband, and was described as a shy, quiet, and smart child. A strict military man, Sarah's father abused his wife, but according to Deb, never laid a hand on Sarah, despite the two often not seeing eye to eye. Eventually, Sarah got a job as a housekeeper, working primarily for wealthy families in Hampton, and met a carpenter named Jacob Dawes, who she was attracted due to her seeing "freedom" in him. In reality, Jacob was a sadistic serial killer, who torture-murdered teenage girls in his workshop, burying the bodies under it and the places he renovated. While Sarah had at least some knowledge of what Jacob was doing, she never did anything to stop him. In 1987, the two had a child, who they named Riley, and three years later, Sarah, overcome with guilt, made an anonymous call to the police, saying she had seen Jacob with several girls who were reported missing. After the police interviewed him, Jacob, intending to flee, told Sarah to kill Riley, believing him to be nothing more than a liability. Refusing to kill Riley, Sarah gave him to the Sheffields, a couple she cleaned for, afterward telling Jacob she had killed him and disposed of the body.

Three hours later, the police arrested Sarah and Jacob, after getting a search warrant and discovering the remains of twelve girls under Jacob's workshop. Sarah falsely confessed to murdering Riley, but never mentioned taking part in any of Jacob's murders, despite his claims that she brought him victims. Dubbed The Ice Queen due to her seemingly apathetic demeanor during the trial, Sarah, along with Jacob, was sent to the Florida State Penitentiary, and sentenced to death. Kept in isolation for her own protection, Sarah spent her time painting, with some of her paintings depicting a river, a bouquet of roses (twelve, for each of Jacob's known victims) and Riley running through a meadow. When Riley, now known as Byron Sheffield, had an article written about him in a newspaper, mentioning a scholarship he had gotten for his cello playing, Sarah cut it out and hid it in a picture frame.

Riding the Lightning

While Jacob is being interviewed by Hotch and JJ for additional murders, Gideon and the BAU finds Riley/Byron and the former asks for them to hold off on Sarah Jean's execution because he believes she is innocent. After Jacob is executed (before which Hotch reveals to him that Sarah Jean betrayed him), he sent Morgan and Elle to go bring Riley to the jail. Sarah Jean then tells Gideon to let it go, as she did not want her son to know what his parents were. Morgan and Elle manage to find Riley but Gideon calls them and tells them to leave it alone. Sarah Jean smiles at Gideon thankfully and asks him to be the last face she sees before she is executed. He agrees and Sarah Jean is executed. At the end of the episode, Gideon is seen sitting in a theater, crying happily as he watches Riley play the cello.


  • Though it doesn't seem to be a direct reference to her, Sarah Jean's name closely mirrors that of Sara Jane Moore, a woman who attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford on September 22, 1975, but failed.



  1. Though she is stated to have married Jacob, Sarah is referred to by her birth name, also being credited in the episode casting as such