Jennifer Kesse was born on May 20, 1981. She graduated from Vivian Gaither High School in Tampa, Florida. In 2003, she obtained a degree in the field of financing from the University of Central Florida.
At the young age of twenty-four, Jennifer’s future was bright and already deemed successful, as she was living in Orlando, Florida and working as a financial analyst at Central Florida Investments Timeshare Company in Ocoee, Florida.
A few months before she vanished, she had moved to her own residence at the newly built Mosiac Apartments that were still under construction at the time. She was one of the very few first tenants at the complex, and during her time there she relayed much concern to her boyfriend and family members, explaining she felt uncomfortable and unsafe because of things the construction workers doing renovations would say and do.
In January of 2006 — the month of her disappearance — she went on a mini vacation with her longtime boyfriend, Robert Allen, who lived a couple hours away in Ft. Lauderdale. They both shared a relaxing and enjoyable weekend with their friends at Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. While they were absent, Jennifer allowed her younger brother, Logan Kesse, to stay in her new apartment for the weekend. Unknowingly to her, Logan invited her ex-boyfriend and other acquaintances for a gathering. When the vacation was over, Jennifer then stayed with her boyfriend until Monday, January 23, 2006, where she left his home and made the direct drive to her place of employment.
Side note: Some media outlets stated she went on a cruise ship but according to Jennifer’s mother, Joyce Kesse, that’s a misconception. Also, Jennifer often visited her boyfriend on the weekends and holidays. It was common for her to make the drive straight to work during the early Monday morning hours. Additionally, throughout the weekdays it was routine for her to have a conversation on the phone with him every morning during her commute to work and before going to bed. End side note.
As her work day came to an end, Jennifer clocked out at approximately 6:00 p.m. and said her goodbyes to her boss and other employees. Later that evening, she talked to her family members and the last person she conversed with was her boyfriend at 9:57 p.m.
From that point forward, despite nothing being noticeably peculiar, Jennifer mysteriously disappeared and she hasn’t been seen or heard from again. However, the unfortunate tragedy wouldn’t be realized until the following morning when Jennifer’s boyfriend uncharacteristically didn’t receive a phone call or a text to wish him good morning.
Allen was perplexed by the situation so he called Jennifer’s place of employment to see if she made it in safely. Her boss informed him that she hadn’t arrived yet. Shortly thereafter, when she astonishingly never appeared to start her scheduled shift, worrying immediately seeped in amongst her coworkers. Her boss then called her parents, Drew and Joyce Kesse, explaining the situation and asked if they had any notion of her whereabouts.
Jennifer’s parents attempted to contact Jenifer via cell-phone, but their efforts were fruitless. All of their calls went straight to voicemail. They left their home in Tampa, Florida — an hour and a half drive from Orlando, Florida — and quickly got into their vehicle to see if she was possibly at her apartment; perhaps oversleeping or something else that was simply an innocent misunderstanding.
Upon arriving at Jennifer’s apartment complex at 1:00 p.m. her vehicle wasn’t in the parking lot. At the request of the condominium manager, they were granted access to take a look inside of her residence. The interior appeared to be in normal conditions. Jennifer’s bed had signs of her sleeping in it throughout the night. Other signs indicated she had taken a shower because a wet bath towel was nearby and fresh water was strewn about the bathtub. There were also multiple pieces of clothing that she had laid out in order to choose what she was going to wear for the day. The only abnormality was her purse and cell phone had been missing.
With no apparent signs of a struggle in Jennifer’s apartment, they went on to notify law enforcement to file a missing person report. Since her apartment seemed to indicate she had been present in the morning, the main consensus from investigators was that she disappeared while she was walking towards her vehicle in the parking lot. It’s reported that Jennifer would typically leave her apartment complex for work between 7:30-7:45 a.m.
Within a matter of two hours, Jennifer’s parent’s created fliers with their daughter’s picture and miscellaneous and contact information and had distributed them throughout the surrounding areas. Meanwhile, the police were making inquiries, interviewing nearby residents, and searching for Jennifer and her vehicle. Sadly, no pivotal information was gleaned during this process.
Two painstaking days went by without answers, tips, or credible witnesses, until a break in the case occurred on that Thursday morning, January 26, 2006, when the police received a tip from a tenant residing at Huntington on the Green, an apartment complex approximately one-mile away from Jennifer’s apartment complex, stating her vehicle — a 2004 black Chevrolet Malibu — had been parked in a visitor’s section for two days. Inside of the car was her belongings which led investigators to believe her disappearance wasn’t related to a burglary. The police investigated the area, and the bloodhounds they had with them tracked Jennifer’s scent directly from her vehicle to her apartment without any sidetracking.
The authorities were pleased to hear that surveillance footage captured Jennifer’s parked vehicle. After reviewing the tapes, it was made aware that an unidentified person was driving her vehicle and parked the car around 12:00 p.m. the very same day of Jennifer’s disappearance. The suspect then sat in the car for roughly thirty seconds before exiting and walking away without glancing backward. From what could be noticeable on the CCTV footage, the unidentified person appears to be approximately 5’5 in height but the gender of this suspect couldn’t be determined although it’s presumed to be a male.
In a remarkable turn of events, due to the camera and its stuttering snapshots, the prime suspect walking away had their face obstructed by the fencing rails surrounding the apartment complex. The only valuable piece of information regarding this unidentified suspect was the clothing they had on, of which has been speculated to be the attire for a painter, construction worker, dishwasher and or chef, a staff member at a hospital, and even a golfer. The possible professions are endless and haven’t narrowed down any solid answers.
The police seized Jennifer’s vehicle to perform a forensic examination. They unearthed a latent print and a significant fiber of DNA. However, they believe the suspect had wiped down and cleaned the car — possibly at a car wash — before abandoning the vehicle. Other than this tidbit of evidence, the information regarding Jennifer’s disappearance has remained scarce.
Throughout the extensive and still ongoing investigation, investigators have questioned family, friends, and the boyfriend, hoping to unravel motivation for Jennifer’s probable abduction and information pertaining Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend was brought to the forefront. Prior to her disappearance, he was making attempts to reconnect with Jennifer, but after being interrogated that lead proved dry as well.
The police focused their attention on her place of employment. None of the employees had any helpful information regarding feasible clues that would pertain to providing leads in her case. However, when authorities obtained Jennifer’s computer they discovered emails from a male coworker in management who made multiple pursuits to start a relationship with her but she repeatedly declined. He had shown up late to work on the morning of Jennifer’s disappearance. He was interviewed several times but he was ruled out as a potential suspect.
The police then focused their efforts on residents at Jennifer’s apartment complex, along with interviewing and cross-questioning many of the construction workers, whom Jennifer expressed concern and fear about; yet that proved incredibly difficult since the numerous employed construction workers were undocumented immigrants also living at the complex.
In 2009, David Russ, a prison inmate at Seminole County Jail in Florida, contacted Jennifer’s father, Drew Kesse. According to his statement, he had intimate knowledge as to what occurred to his daughter. He claimed to hear other inmates discussing the details. Additionally, he was very critical of law enforcement–stating they had botched the investigation from the very beginning. Nevertheless, his tips were deemed unreliable.
In the summer of 2010 Jennifer’s case was officially handed over to the FBI but there haven’t been any prominent leads in the investigation until 2017 when an employee from a jewelry store in Decherd, Tennessee claimed to see a woman matching Jennifer’s description being held against her will by a black man who was well-dressed, groomed, and had dreadlocks, during the winter of 2006 or 2007. She wouldn’t speak or make eye contact with any of the workers. The employee was concerned and noticed her hand appeared to be bruised and broken. Shortly thereafter, the man and woman left the store in a dark-colored vehicle driven by a third party member. The employee’s reasoning for holding onto this information for so long was because she hadn’t heard of Jennifer Kesse until seeing news coverage on her when she was visiting friends and family in Florida in early 2017. None of these claims have been substantiated.
It has been twelve years since Jennifer Kesse has disappeared, and her friends and family are left with more questions than answers. Her case has garnished a lot of exposure, especially on internet true crime forums. As such, speculation and theories arise.
Since there wasn’t a sign of a struggle at Jennifer’s apartment and no traces of blood anywhere including her vehicle and the Huntington on the Green apartment complex, there are people who speculate she was abducted and placed into human trafficking. A question that still remains is when and how was she abducted? The police are under the impression she vanished as she was walking to her car in the morning. If that’s the case, how did nobody see the incident unfold?
If Jennifer was murdered, the question is how and where? There are theories floating around that she could have been strangled, and since her apartment complex was still under construction, her killer could have buried her body in the walls of one of the buildings or underneath the base platform with concrete that was in the process of being constructed.
In terms of her disappearance in general, many people adamantly believe a construction worker is involved in some compacity, considering Jennifer’s disdain she had expressed numerous times to her family and boyfriend. Additionally, a construction worker who lived at the complex would know when she would leave for work. Due to these circumstances, the possibility of Jennifer’s abductor staging her apartment has been brought up. Not only would the person know her routine and clothing she typically wore, but the layout of the complex and possibly the knowledge to break-in with ease.
One criticism many people have about the overall investigation of Jennifer’s case is how evidence could have been contaminated inadvertently. After she disappeared, the first people to examine her apartment and the rooms were the condominium manager and her parents. Moreover, they used her apartment complex as a base of operations for eight months. Vital information could have been lost because of this process.
Nevertheless, Jennifer’s family still remains actively involved with the investigation. They haven’t given up hope and pursue any tips and leads they are given, and still do their best to keep their daughter’s case in the forefront of the media.