Monday, February 18, 2008

What Happened to Jennifer Kesse? by Robert A. Waters

Once when my daughter was attending college in Orlando, my wife and I drove down for a visit. A wreck on the turnpike caused traffic to be re-directed and we ended up in Crack Alley. As I negotiated our car through knots of prostitutes and pimps and addicts, my wife pulled a pistol from the glove box and held it on her lap. Just in case. We came through okay, but even in broad daylight I was frightened. Did Jennifer Kesse [pictured] go out one night and get caught in a nightmare?

Orlando: strip plazas; porn shops; grimy streets littered with crackheads and whores. Not quite the image Mickey wants you to remember. But there, juxtaposed between the yuppie condos and student apartments and convention centers is a stain that can’t be ignored.

On January 23, 2006, Jennifer Kesse disappeared from these streets without a trace. "Disappeared without a trace." Even the phrase sounds strange. How can someone in a large metropolitan area simply vanish? How can a responsible, confident young business-woman disappear in the land of Mickey Mouse?

It wouldn’t be the first time.

In 1997, another blue-eyed blonde named Carla Larson went missing after picking up a sandwich for lunch at a Publix grocery store near Disney World. Two days later, her body was found in a patch of woods. She’d been abducted, raped, and murdered. John Huggins, convicted of the crime, now sits on death row. If the Supreme Court doesn’t toss out the death penalty or if he doesn’t die of old age, someday he might actually be executed for the savage crime.

The day before she disappeared, Jennifer and her fiancé returned from a cruise. During the week she was gone, her brother and several friends had batched it in her condo. When they left, one of the friends forgot his cell phone. He called Jennifer and asked if she would mail it to him.

Investigators think she was trying to find a mail box when she was snatched. On the news show Dateline, her mother remarked that “[investigators] showed us the scene they found...There was a wet shower, damp towel, underwear on the floor, hair and makeup items on the bathroom sink. On her unmade bed, a selection of work clothes were laid.” Did Jennifer go out after dark to mail the package and cross unknowingly into the abyss of murder?

Jennifer’s fiancĂ© was ruled out. Her friends and family were ruled out. The vacationers who spent the week before in her apartment were ruled out. Workers at her apartment complex were ruled out. It was obvious to investigators that this was a random kidnapping.

It became more obvious when they began viewing videotapes of businesses in the area. Her black Chevy Malibu was found about a mile from her condo. Security cameras caught an individual parking her car and getting out. It wasn’t Jennifer. But the camera was too far away to get a clear picture of the driver.

Another security camera revealed a strange clue. An individual walked by her car within seconds after it had been dropped off. Police were never able to identify the person, but concluded that he or she was about five feet three inches tall. A woman or a short man.

So more than two years later, Jennifer is still gone. The girl with the pretty smile who loved her job just fell off the radar screen. Another shadow in the black hole of the missing.


Starving Student said...

I'm famous now, because you shouted me out on the internet.

By the way, you once said to me about my first terrible breakup: "it's just another blip on the radar screen of life." That has sat with me through about ten years now, and I've quoted it to many a friend in trouble. I've always thought that it was a poignant sentence.


alpha said...

I still-framed the video on Tivo, and that person walking looks like a man with his hair up in a bun or short pony tail on the back of his head. The way he strides does not lead me to believe it was a woman in the surveillance video.

Do you know whether or not the police checked the other apartments that the construction workers occuppied, for any trace of Jennifer's DNA, possibly some of her hair? From what I viewed on 48 Hours, I think he might have abducted her into either his apartment or a vacant apartment he was working on, then went back to where he stashed her. I firmly believe the abductor was a construction worker at that condominium.


Robert A. Waters said...


Thanks for your comments. I think the police tried to contact all the workers but there were so many they couldn't find them all. They didn't say so, but there may have been a language barrier as well since many of the workers would probably have been from other countries including many illegals. Whatever the case, I have always felt, like you, that the abductor was probably one of the workers.

Robert A. Waters

alpha said...

Thank you for responding. I've worked in construction most of my life, and I did maintenance and air conditioning for lots of management companies in the past. If this guy is a citizen of the USA he might be a drifter that moves from complex to complex. With his hair up like it was, I've seen many painters that do that to scarf their hair to prevent paint from getting on to it. He'll eventually make a mistake and justice will prevail. Thanks again.

ang3l_4ever09 said...

Everyone who knew her or have heard of her, understands this. jennifer is a gift from god.I was their at work 5 months pregnant and hurricane katrina was 5 months in the hole.The family has been praying please return this ANGEL to her family. THANK YOU JESUS LOVES YOU.,

leesung said...

I think the Police made a fatal mistake.

1) They didn't work fast enough to find and track down the construction workers at the condo.

Jennifer's mom even said she was scared by those workers staring at her.

2) They released the info about the video way too late.

Liz said...

I agree with those of you who mentioned Jennifer's disappearance being related to one of the construction workers. I just read about the solving of the Jennifer Lee Hampton case, and apparently it was a motel worker (also foreign) who had access to her room. The people working on the condo were foreign (I think Mexican) and Jennifer had mentioned she didn't like how they looked at her. They also would have known she stepped out to mail something... since they probably stayed on or near site. I'm glad other people are thinking about this too because it really bothers me :(

Bram Ananta said...

Oh God, I hope the police get the clue of her whereabouts soon, it has been almost four years till now ... It makes me feel terrible ...

hoods said...

someone somewhere knows something, and the reason no one has been caught is cause there is probrbly only 1 person who knows where jennifer is, someone needs to clear their soul and at least leave an anonymous clue as to where she is, 2 days later car found, must be within 1 day (24 hours) driving vicinity, or taken somewhere and locked up in a house with a garage where the car could have been for 2 days...dressed like that to make sure not to leave any evidence in the car, probebly a woman, not many men are that short, or possibly a worker that walked back to appt building after dropping the car off, or someone that lives, or lived in the vicinity...such a heartbreaking mystery...god send us all a sign, or give her a chance to escape where ever she is

joyce kesse said...

I am Jennifer's mom, Joyce, my first time to this site. Thank all of you for taking time to care and share your thoughts. To clarify, Jenn flew to St.Croix 1/19/2006 Th-returned 1/22/2006 Sun. Drove directly to work in Ocoee,Fl from Ft.Lauderdale. Worked all day,Mon.1/23 came home at dinner time. Was last heard of at 10p that nite. She would never have gone out to mail that cell phone, she said she'd mail it from work the next day. Tuesday 1/24/2006 JENN'S NIGHTMARE BEGINS..didn't show up for work, cell phone directly to voice mail. Jenn very responsible, would call work if running late, and never in all the time she had cell phone never turned it off. Her car was dropped off on the day of her abduction at noon 1/24/2006 approx. 1.2miles at the Huntington on the Green condo complex. Ironically it was not found,and a resident of that complex saw the news Thurs.morning 1/26/2006 and called police. As of June 2010 her case was transferred to the FBI, let's all hope with their expertise,training/experience that we can finally bring Jenn home. Thank you all!

Robert A. Waters said...


Thanks so much for the email and the clarification. Jennifer's case touches me deeply and I hope that you'll indeed be able to bring her home and that whoever did this recieves justice.


KittyKat said...

Very sad case, watched it tonight on channel 32 here in Canada. I just can't imagine the pain and heartache of the family! I too was wondering about the construction workers, and I am glad to see that aspect covered here by others! I would hope the police did do as much as they could to find all the workers, and question them, and I think time must've been of the essence! I wonder how many of the 'worked on' units the police were able to search...

Brooke said...

I have done a study about this. 4 out of 10 beautiful wemon (such as Jennifer) have been said to have been taken just like this. But where they go, no one seems to have a clue. Well, I suspect the workers. My point is, some of these workers were foriegn. so, maybe it should be taken under consideration that she has been taken out of the U.S. to be forced or druged into becoming a prostiute or stripper or anything else of the sort. It is an absolutly terrible thing to even consider but it does happen. I was studying this when I heard about Jennifer's case over two years ago. This story is very sad and I sincerly hope Jen will come home.


Vicky said...

Had to add my thoughts to this disappearance, most definitely, it was one of the workers. Reading about Jennifers disappearance on the internet from Ireland and really think the person responsible for this terrible event was someone who knew her movements etc. She was stunning looking and one of the workers could have had a fixation on her... Please god they will be brought to justice...

roger76a said...

Pardon my grammar if they are incorrect. English is not my first language.
I was in French law and order enforcement dept. (violent crimes against women) for dozen years and there was a similar case in terms of modus operandi.
First of all, I believe the mixture of immigrants and second generation natural born workers were involved just like the case I co-worked on. It was Algerian building contractors snatching a white and pretty 20-something woman from apartment nearby and took her few floors below (ground floor) where they were renovating for new buyers. The plan was (after we rescued the sexually traumatized woman) to have their way with her, kill her and cement her remains beneath the basement floor. Due to racial sentiments at that time (riots involving the minorities were happening at that time), the case was sealed from media attention.
This was basically a crime where white woman are seen as the ultimate beauty and in their countries often bombarded with often sexualized images of the white women in Medias and ads. The crime often occurs when the perpetrators are also from sexually repressed culture. Google ‘immigrants’ ‘rape’ ‘white women’ and you will see it is a common affair in Europe.
[1] My theory is the workers have been eyeing Miss Kesse for a while and hoping for the right time to strike. When she went for that weekend getaway, the guys (I believe at least 3 or 4 guys were involved) were probably got anxious she has gone for few weeks. That’s why they snatched her the day after she came home, afraid she will go away again.
So go back and try to find workers records on that particular time whose job should finished within days or that month.
[2] In this ‘pack’ – one must the planner (dominant) and the others are followers (submissive). He and couple of others grab Miss Kesse and drag her to an empty unit in the condo.
*Please don’t be offended but I’m treating this as a homicide.*
I believe after they had their way with her, the dominant chokes her, cover her in plastic wrap and buried her in the wall or the floor they were working on with help of others. One guy (the weakest of them) is told to drive the car few miles away and park it there, hoping it will give some time for cement to dry and confuse the authorities. Again I’m sorry for being grotesque about it.
Low-level criminals or first-time perpetrators often believes they can misled the authorities by taking object of the victim – in this the car – and driving it somewhere they hope will attract the cops away from actual crime scene. And they usually don’t go far in planting the object because the lack of patience and fear of discovery. There are many instances but I stick to a case in same state:
Refer to case of Katrina Anne Froeschle
‘She’ is at the condo and this statement :
“Bloodhounds tracked a scent from where her car was found back to her condo complex losing the scent on Jennifer’s condo property.”
makes me believe that.
Use a machine that detects human remains thru barriers. If you Google it, you can find the product.
[3] The cops should have rounded off all the workers there and made them walk the same path the POI did and compare the gait. Sadly the cops did not if I’m correct.

toni said...

I was watching 48 hrs today nov 7 2011 and when they showed the person walking on the video to me it looked like he was wearing loafers and his hair looked shaven in back long on top like preppy guys wear it. They need to luminol her condo for blood. Hope she's found just so the family can put this to rest.

sara said...

roger76a post give me chills and goose bumps...Sounds about right.

sara said...

roger76a post give me chills and goosebumps...sounds about right

Kathyw said...

We have just watched the story of Jennifers disappearance. At the begining when they spoke of the complex being painted my spine went funny - can't explain any better than that. My heart goes out to Jennifers parents, the not knowing is torture for them and their minds imagining terrible senarios. I do feel Jennifer will be found eventually and her family can have some closure.
St. Jude St. Jude please come around, Jennifer is still missing and needs to be found.

bruce white said...

Im sure the police know what they are doing. Or should. I was wondering if they have crossed-checked to see if any of the workers had previously worked at the complex where Jennifers car was left. They may have left the car there because they were familiar with the other complex, knowing they wldnt be spotted dropping her car. I agree with the post that said round em up and see who quit work or whatever with days or weeks of her dissapearance. But I do believe that the guy (I believe guy, yes)was familiar with the surroundings and knew where to leave her car. Could he have worked there before!?!? Had to be a worker. And I believe said worker or workers lay waiting for her at her condo.

Lolon said...

We read that one of the friends who stayed in her condo called and asked Jennifer to mail his cell phone which he had left behind.

Does anyone know if that cell phone was found in her condo?

Lolon said...

We read that one of the friends who stayed in the condo while she was gone called and asked that she mail his cell phone to him.

Does anyone know if that cell phone was found by police in her condo?

If not, this would indicate that she left to mail the cell phone and never returned.

Lolon said...

The police would do well by reviewing the comments made here by "roger76a".

The police theory that Jennifer was abducted in the morning on her way to work, at a time when the other tenants are also leaving for work, and the chances of being seen is very high, is more than hard to swallow.

It is noted that nothing has apparently been done about the only clue to the puzzle, the video of the person of interest. There is no face to facilitate identification, and obviously no fingerprint or DNA, but they have the body type and clothes. The clothes is clearly the type of clothing worn by construction workers. I have seen this type of overalls worn by the people who paint and spray on the popcorn onto ceilings. It seems to me that the person in the picture is wearing the clothing of a construction worker.

The POI in the picture has a small build. Seven years after the crime it is unlikely that anything can be done about this now.

Marcia Hodson said...

What about a fellow apartment dweller who could have either been watching her routine daily and or knew her as a co-resident? That person could have paid a third party to move the car. She could have been hidden in a unit close by until she could be moved at night time. Police should question every person who resided there when she did, starting with those who had a visual if her condo. Those people are much easier to track down for potential new leads.

Marcia Hodson said...

Why not interview every person who resided at Jennifer's condo complex at the time she disappeared, starting with those whose unit was visible to Jennifer's? It is much easier to track down those parties than unknown migrant workers. This angle just might turn up some new leads. I pray for closure and justice. MKH, Orlando, FL

Peggy Kenney said...

I have a feeling it was a worker as do so many others. Don't get how a shower can still be wet after 3 hours. Maybe the police should check the drain and apt for blood evidence. Also I heard the police aren't allowed to check apts used by the workers? Did the ever check the property for a body. Alot of times the news finds people not far from the site of a home. I really do hope one day she is found. I so do ADMIRE the Kesse family.They are just absolutely amazing.