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Jennifer Kesse’s Disappearance: What Happened? Was She Found?

October 24, 2020
5 min read

CBS’ ’48 Hours’ first premiered on the network back on January 19, 1988. And since then, it has managed to become television’s most popular true-crime series, investigating shocking cases and compelling real-life tales with authenticity and cutting-edge interviews to give us a complete look at a case. So, of course, every one of its episodes goes above and beyond to provide us with every bit of factual information surrounding a case to help us form our own opinions, and its episode entitled ‘Where Is Jennifer Kesse?’ is no different. Curious to know all the specific details of this one yourself? We have got your back!

What Happened to Jennifer Kesse?

Image Credit: CBS News / 48 Hours

Born on May 20, 1981, to Drew and Joyce Kesse, Jennifer Kesse was a graduate of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, from where she obtained a finance degree in 2003. At the time of her disappearance, Jennifer worked as a finance manager at Central Florida Investments Timeshare Company in Ocoee. She had newly purchased a condominium with her own money – no small feat for someone who was just 24. Even though her home was in a rough part of the city, it was in the process of being revamped, which meant that a lot of workers were always around.

The weekend before Jennifer vanished, she had gone on a vacation with her boyfriend, Rob Allen, to Saint Croix, Virgin Islands. Returning on Sunday, she stayed the night at her boyfriend’s home and then drove straight to work on Monday morning, January 23, 2006. As usual, when Jennifer left at around 6 p.m., she called her father while driving home. And then at 10 p.m., she talked to Rob. The next morning, though, Jennifer waivered from her routine. She always texted or called Rob before leaving for work, but she did neither that day, which was extremely strange.

Image Credit: CBS News / 48 Hours

Rob ringed her up himself, reasoning that she’d been preoccupied with a meeting that she had previously mentioned, but his call went straight to voicemail. And by 11 a.m., when Jennifer didn’t show up for work, even her employers got worried, calling her parents to inform them about the situation. They, in turn, told Rob. In the hours that followed, they all came to Jennifer’s condo and noticed that although her car was missing, nothing else was out of the ordinary. With personal items laid out, her room suggested that Jennifer had showered, dressed, and left for work.

Jennifer’s parents called the police immediately, but because of her age, they initially held off on any investigation. By that evening, though, with friends and family members distributing fliers, the Orlando Police Department organized extensive search parties to look for her and her vehicle, to no avail. It was only on January 26 that a tenant of a nearby complex saw Jennifer’s story on the news and informed authorities that her car was abandoned in front of their apartment the day she went missing. It was as if someone had abducted her while she was leaving for work.

Was Jennifer Kesse Found?

Unfortunately, no. From surveillance cameras, the authorities were able to see that someone, who was not Jennifer, had calmly driven her car and left it exactly where it was found at around noon on January 24. But sadly, this person, whose physical features were not clear in the video due to angling and fences concealing their face, was not recognized by anyone. Even the FBI, who was called in to help, could only determine that they stood between 5’3″ and 5’5″. Then, in an attempt to get more clues, her car was photographed and taken in for a thorough forensic examination.

Because of the number of valuables left in Jennifer’s car, it was deduced that her disappearance was not a robbery gone wrong. And the forensic examination produced just a little as well – a latent print and a small DNA fiber. The car had been wiped down and the only things missing were Jennifer’s cell phone, iPod, keys, purse, briefcase, and the clothes she was wearing. All this did was shut more doors than it opened, mainly because her bank account keycard has not been used since the day she vanished from the face of the earth with no indication whatsoever.

Image Credit: CBS News / 48 Hours

The investigators looked into everyone that they could think of. Jennifer’s boyfriend, Rob Allen, had a solid alibi. Her ex, recently upset and wishing to get back together with her, was cleared. And her manager, who had made his intentions of wanting a relationship with her clear, was eventually ruled out as a suspect as well. Therefore, the only ones left were the laborers who were working on her condo complex expansion. The same ones whom Jennifer had complained about to her friends and family, saying how on several occasions, they catcalled and harassed her.

Many of these workers were non-English speakers, so due to the language barrier, the investigators had quite a bit of trouble interrogating them. But when they did, no leads were discovered. To this date, Jennifer is considered to be missing and endangered by the Orlando Police Department, the FBI, the Orange County Police, and several other agencies. The FBI took over Jennifer’s case in mid-2010, putting her on their Most Wanted/Missing List, where she still remains. Her parents also continue to pursue leads, hoping to one day either find her or her remains. (Featured Image Credit: CBS News / 48 Hours)

Read More: Where Are Jennifer Kesse’s Parents Now?

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