Thursday, June 4, 2009

Where is Jennifer Kesse?

by Stacy Dittrich

Jennifer Kesse (pictured left) had her future in the palm of her hands. Smart, beautiful, and surrounded by an extraordinary circle of family and friends, she was known for her infectious smile. The morning of January 24, 2006 began like any other day. She had just spent a glorious weekend in St. Croix with her boyfriend and small group of friends before flying home alone to Orlando, Florida. Going through her usual routine, Jennifer got herself ready for work. Over the prior weekend, Jennifer’s younger brother, Logan, had stayed at her condo with a group of friends—one who inadvertently left his cell phone. On this particular Tuesday morning, Jennifer set out in search of a roadside mailbox in an attempt to mail the cell phone back. There was never a morning that went by that Jennifer didn’t phone her boyfriend or family before she left for work. On this morning, no phone call was ever made.

Jennifer Kesse never arrived at work that day, nor has she been seen since.

Jennifer’s family quickly convinced police this wasn’t a typical missing person’s case. By noon on January 24th an exhaustive search by police, family, and friends began in an attempt to find Jennifer. Her condo was as it should be, no signs of struggle or robbery, but signs of Jennifer and her morning routine were everywhere; wet towels from her recent shower, and work clothes laid out on her bed.

At noon on January 26, 2006—just two days after Jennifer disappeared, her family’s worst fears were realized. Police located Jennifer’s Chevy Malibu parked in an apartment complex just one mile from her home. To further matters, surveillance video shows a male suspect parking the vehicle and quickly walking away from it. Jennifer was still nowhere to be found. Clearly, Jennifer Kesse was an endangered missing person and police worked around the clock to identify the suspect. I had the privilege of interviewing Jennifer’s father, Drew, last night on Justice Interrupted Radio. When asked about the identity or whereabouts of the subject, he simply stated, “He is as missing as Jennifer is.” Drew went on to describe how police used every tactic known to law enforcement to draw the suspect out, but it appears the suspect has evidently vanished. Three separate law enforcement agencies processed Jennifer’s vehicle extensively and had recovered some viable evidence, but it’s as if the suspect doesn’t exist, yet he remains at large.

The family refuses to give up hope. Launching a national media blitz, Jennifer’s case has drawn the attention of Good Morning America, Greta Van Susteren on Fox, numerous other television and radio shows, and specifically, now remains on the America’s Most Wanted web site. 48 Hours aired Jennifer’s story July 1, 2008.

On April 3, 2008, specific photographs of Jennifer’s four-leaf clover tattoo (pictured below), and the purse she was carrying when she was abducted were released by the Orlando Police Department in attempt to bring more attention to the case. Her purse has never been located, and it was determined she never mailed the cell phone, which hasn’t been recovered as well. Regardless, police are adamant they are not dealing with a robbery since various items of value were still inside her vehicle. The case remains highly active within the Orlando Police Department.

Drew Kesse continues to search for his daughter, his strength epitomizing a parent’s love for his child and those children missing everywhere. Just recently, he was named president of the Florida Missing Children’s Day Foundation, and was a driving force behind Florida’s Senate Bill 502—“The Jennifer Kesse and Tiffany Sessions Missing Persons Act”—a new bill to enhance Florida’s missing person’s laws. On Monday, September 14, 2009 Drew will lead a ceremony in remembrance of Florida’s missing persons to be held in the Capitol Courtyard. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

On the impressive web site dedicated to finding Jennifer, flyers of Jennifer and of the suspect (pictured left) are available for download. The family encourages everyone—no matter what state they reside, to distribute the flyers throughout their community.

For the Kesse family, each day is a struggle, but they continue to survive, hoping their efforts will eventually bring Jennifer home.


FleaStiff said...

With all that extensive work being done in the complex, repeated complaints about the itinerant workmen's conduct, there is a good chance whatever happened took place right there in her complex. Now a white overalled suspect (yeah, I didn't say POI) sure indicates workman to me. And I don't know why they can't measure the background objects to get better ideas of the suspect's dimensions.
I wonder about this 'driving out to mail a cell phone with all her workclothes laid out': wouldn't she have gotten dressed for work and then merely taken the cell phone with her for mailing? Why a separate errand? Surely there are OTHER cameras the suspect passed on his way back from dumping the car?
Six homicide detectives is not enough for Orlando's crime rate.

Delilah said...

It's great to see the Women In Crime bringing attention to missing persons, especially missing adults, whose cases are oftentimes ignored.

The family of Jennifer Kesse are to be commended for their proactive ability to not only search for clues about their daughter, but to make changes in the laws so the next family doesn't have to fight quite so hard to be heard.

There are thousands of family members, just like the Kesses, who are suffering through daily torture wondering where their loved one might be.

Take a look at Peace4 the Missing or any other missing persons site and you will see that they all have common goals, to find their loved one no matter what the cost!


Anonymous said...

Back in June 2007, Todd Matthews interviewed Drew and Joyce Kesse for his radio program Missing Pieces - Episode 43.
This is the link to that interview:
At the end of the text there are links to news stories about Jennifer's case and a video.

Drew Kesse said...

It is incredible how time flies as i am reading this article again on 9/18/13. Jennifer is still Missing gone without a trace as the FBI told us in Nov. 2010 and to please go away and stop the leads coming to them -"She has vanished, we don't have a clue to where she is and please no more leads" are the exact words used by the FBI. So Orlando police struggle through an investigation way over their heads and who gets hurt in the whole matter - Jennifer- I don;t understand how people just don't see this is a heinous crime that needs the country's involvement as well as so many others too.
We do thank everyone who continues to try and find answers for sooo many years. We will never give up on Jennifer, we are all she has and we will find her, bring her home for the good or bad and we will find others along the way. Please do not forget Jennifer she needs everyones help. There is still $5,000 reward for info leading to her whereabouts call crimeline 1-800-423-8477. We thank you all from the Kesse Family.