Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Interview with Drew Kesse

Jennifer Kesse disappeared from Orlando, Florida two and a half years ago. Her parents as well as friends and relatives have worked tirelessly to find her. The local and national media have high-lighted the case numerous times. Police have tracked down thousands of leads. But she remains missing. Someone knows something. Crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. There are several tip-lines listed below. Some can be called anonymously. Make that call and help the Kesse family heal!

Are there any new developments in the case that you can talk about?

We wish we could say there are. However, Jennifer as well as the suspect (i.e., the person who parked her car and walked away) still remain “vanished.” We’re told by police that there is still a lot of work to be done and there are promising directions. But this investigation has been very tough on everyone including all law enforcement involved.

I'm impressed with your website. How was it developed and how do you keep it up?

Jennifer’s website http://jenniferkesse.com/ was created by a total stranger from the east coast of Florida, who, when he first saw Joyce (Jennifer’s mother) and myself on TV asking for help in finding Jennifer, thought that someone would try and buy the website address under Jennifer’s name and try to sell it to us and profit. He set up the basic site and we have worked together to try and keep it up-to-date and factual. And we try to keep as much detail as possible onsite so if anyone has any questions they can go there for up-to-the-minute news as well as any events we may be planning.

The guestbook on the site has also been great to have. So many people care and help with awareness. The Internet is an extremely powerful tool for getting information around the world very quickly and we take advantage of that as much as possible. Jennifer was abducted and she may be anywhere in the world by now. We’ve been contacted through the guestbook by people in over 60 countries, so it works for awareness.

Since Jennifer’s disappearance, the webmaster has started his own missing person’s website. If someone goes missing, he will set up a website free of charge and monitor it for the family or turn it over to the family so they can run it. Visit http://www.someoneismissing.com to find out more.

Joyce and I write monthly letters to post on Jennifer’s website. We send them to our webmaster and he posts them and archives the letters so people can read what we have written all along about Jennifer’s case.

Please note that anyone can print a flyer off the website. They are all printable.

Rewards still remain. Crimeline (1-800-423-8477) has a $15,000 reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Jennifer Kesse. There is also a reward of $ 10,000 from our family for information leading to the whereabouts of the suspect who dropped off her car and walked away. (He is still unidentified.)

Family Tipline (407-722-2162) is a place where you may leave anonymous tips if you don’t wish to speak with authorities directly.

You may also contact Orlando Police at 321-235-5300 and ask for the Homicide unit.

The idea of putting the entire 48 Hours story on the website is innovative. Who came up with that idea?

When we do a television interview, we try to get the link onsite so as many people as possible can see them, even well after they have been aired. We have the “Dateline NBC” story online as well as the CBS “48 Hours” piece. We simply asked if we could get a link and the networks allowed us to post them.

Tell me about Jennifer's safety precautions while living in Orlando (i.e., safe phone, whistle, mace).

Jennifer is a very safe person. Whether she let her guard down or was taken by surprise, she always practiced personal safety. Before we had our children, Joyce and I were held up at gunpoint in our home in New Jersey. When Jennifer and Logan, our son, were old enough to start to understand “people danger” we started to teach them safety. Joyce and I always had discussions with Jennifer about safety from when she started to go to school up until she was taken. She carried mace at all times, as well as a whistle. She let people know where she was most of the time and she was not a risk taker when it came to safety.

Jennifer was well known for her “safe calls.” If she was out and did not feel she was in a safe place, she would get someone on the phone. In that way, she would have help if she needed it. She would call mostly at night, coming and going from stores in Orlando or even from a night out. If we got the safe call, we used to tease her and say, “What’s up, none of your friends around? Had to go down the list?”

Joyce and Jennifer also often spoke about what to do if certain things were to happen, like rape, abduction, car-jacking, etc. This was a result of watching many years of “Law and Order,” which we no longer watch. This is what makes this act even more unbearable. If someone wants to get you, they will. We’ve learned that the hard way. However, one still must be aware of their surroundings at all times.

How do you think the abduction occurred?

It’s a total mystery still. Personally, I think Jennifer was spotted by someone or a group who either wanted her specifically or any woman. I think she was abducted and trafficked out of this country. I know that seems far-fetched but that is what I feel happened. Joyce feels she was stalked and taken by someone who just had to have her and couldn’t. Ask us in five minutes and we will probably tell you another thought we have. It’s difficult not to even have a direction to go 2½ years later.

Do you think a worker at the condo was responsible? A stalker from work? Or maybe someone who had seen her out and about?

Too hard to say. We do believe Jennifer was most likely taken from in or around her condo building in Orlando, on her way to work that morning on January 24, 2006 at approximately 7:30-8:00 a.m. She was very uncomfortable with workers at her complex and expressed this several times to us. We simply don’t know at this time.

How do you keep your hopes up?

We (her family and friends) have total unconditional love for Jennifer. Jennifer was created from love by Joyce and myself and we have always loved and supported our children to the fullest while letting them grow personally. We are her parents! She is our child, no matter what age she is.

The fact still remains that not one item of Jennifer’s has been found, except for the car, or used since the hour she was most likely taken. This has even law enforcement stumped – Nothing! That is out of the ordinary if this was a random criminal act. So until someone can tell us what happened to Jennifer and we bring her home, for the good or bad, we will hold hope that she is still out there needing to be desperately found.

So many families that face similar circumstances break apart. How have you and your wife managed to keep it together?

Honestly, why should it break people apart? It has brought our family closer than ever. Joyce and I, this past July 29th, celebrated (not really) our thirtieth wedding anniversary. We are soul mates and we truly love each other and our children. We are, I think, smart, logical people who understand that something very bad has happened to Jennifer and she needs us, not a divorce. We are a by-product of the situation. We need more than ever to show unity and family security at this time in our lives for the rest of our family and Jennifer’s friends. If we were to break up, that would mean that Evil would have won twice, and that will not happen in this family or situation.

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Yes, I would like to remind people that Jennifer Kesse is still missing by means of abduction and needs help desperately to be found. Please visit her website and pass it on to all the people you know and ask them to do the same. Awareness is everything in a missing person’s case. It works - we know it works.

Secondly, we want people to understand that there is still an abductor or abductors out there. They need to be found along with Jennifer. If we find the person who dropped her car off 1.2 miles down her street in broad daylight on tape and walked away, this will all be over very quickly. Two people (including the abductor) have fallen off the face of the earth in Orlando, Florida. Someone knows something and they need to step up to the plate now. If you do know something and don’t say anything, we hold you just as responsible for the abduction of Jennifer as much as the person(s) who took her!

Lastly, if I may get on my soap box for a minute: we need to start as a nation taking our communities back from the small percentage of criminals in our great country. They are ruining our neighborhoods and lives and we, the law-abiding citizens, need to stand up and not be intimidated. If you see a crime – report it! If you hear of a crime – report it! If you don’t, you are part of the problem. It’s not up to police to run our communities. We are a country of free people – not a police state. Police are there to support our communities and keep the peace. We run our communities, states, and country, we The People, so take a stand and be a part of the solution. It won’t be easy, but it will be the right thing to do!

We need to be parents to our children, not their friends. We need to teach them self-respect as well as respect for others and their property. We need to educate our children. Knowledge is power. Use punishment when needed but with love, not hate and anger. Tell and show your children you love them. Be the role-models they not only want but need. We need to teach our children Civics in school again. Most children today are unaware of how our system of democracy works in our Republic. We are the greatest civilization that has ever lived and we are ruining it by letting a few bad seeds take away our society as we know it. You can make a difference. Take the first step and others will follow.

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