Name: Jennifer Joyce Kesse
Age: 24 years old
Last seen: January 23, 2006
Location: Ocoee, Florida
Jennifer Kesse is a caucasian female with sandy blonde hair and green eyes. She is 5’8 and weighs 130lbs.
Jennifer has a shamrock tattoo on her lower back and a four-leaf clover on her left hip at the panty line, she has a birthmark on her middle finger on the second joint down and a non-raised strawberry birthmark on her rib area. She has surgical scars on her left inside elbow, a defined cleft chin, a skin tag outside of her left hand.
Jennifer Joyce Kesse was born May 20th, 1981 to parents Drew and Joyce Kesse, she grew up in Tampa Florida. Her parents describe her as extremely well-liked and really smart. Joyce described her as her very own doll as she was just the perfect little girl. She was described as a great student with good markings and teachers really liked her.
After graduating from Vivian Gaither High School, in Tampa, Florida, she attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando and graduated in 2003 with a degree in finance.
At the time of Jennifer’s disappearance, she was working as a financial analyst for Central Florida Investments Timeshare Company, in Ocoee. She had recently bought a condominium home in Mosaic at Millenia Condominiums in Orlando.
Jennifer had a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend Rob Allen, from Fort Lauderdale, they met in January 2005 and were known to speak on the phone multiple times a day.
On January 23rd, 2006, Jennifer left work around 6 pm, while driving home she spoke to her dad around 6:15 pm she also spoke to her best friend on the phone and called her boyfriend at 10 pm.
Jennifer’s phone was turned off that night between when she had gotten off the phone with the last person she spoke and the next morning. Her phone was turned off and the battery was removed, she had also had a friend’s phone with her which she was supposed to send back so she powered off his phone took out the battery which was normal as she was sending this phone back. However, no one knows why her phone was turned off.
The following morning, January 24th, 2006, Jennifer did not show up at her job that morning, which was extremely unusual for her as she would also let someone know if she was going to be late or wasn’t going to going in. Jennifer had a meeting planned for 11 am, which her boss said there was no way she just wouldn’t turn up to work or miss this meeting. They tried calling her but there was no answer.
Once Jennifer’s boss couldn’t get a hold of her, they called her parents, as they were listed as her emergency contacts. As soon as her parents found out they were extremely worried as they also said there was no way Jennifer wouldn’t go to work. They tried calling her as well but were not able to get through to her phone which went straight to her voicemail.
Her parents immediately knew something was wrong.
The Kesse family was extremely cautious when it came to safety and responsibility because Joyce and Drew were once held at gunpoint. Jennifer would also call her someone when she was walking alone.
Jennifer’s parents called her boyfriend Rob and he told them he hadn’t heard from her either and he thought it was a bit odd that she didn’t call or text him because she always followed a routine which included calling or texting her boyfriend in the morning.
Her family decided to drive over to her apartment and on their way to the condo, which was around 2 hours away, they had called the condo complex and ask if they could go and check if Jennifer’s car was there. Jennifer’s black 2004 Chevrolet Malibu was not at the parking lot.
When the Kesse family arrived at her condo, everything seemed normal, the only things that were missing were her phone, purse, and keys.
While looking around the condo they noticed a bottle of pepper spray on her counter which she always kept next to her car keys and whenever she was going out she would also grab them both. Her clothes were laid out on her bed and there was still water in the shower as well as a damp towel, suggesting she had gotten ready for work and left out.
Jennifer’s family contacted the police and when an officer arrived he said ‘looks like she fought with her boyfriend, she’ll be back later and then left.
Joyce and Drew proceeded to call everyone Jennifer knew that could have heard from her and they printed out missing poster fliers and posted them around the condo and area.
They also had friends and family standing on street corners handing out fliers.
By 9 pm Jennifer could not be found and she was officially filed as a missing person and the media started reporting on the case.
Shortly after Jennifer disappeared, on January 26th, 2006, a call came in from someone that lived in an apartment complex that was less than a mile away from Jennifer’s condo, saying that they had seen a car that looked like Jennifer’s, in the parking lot of the complex.
When police at the complex, they confirmed that it was Jennifer Kesse’s car. The area the car was found was a more rough area and was known for drugs.
Police brought blood dogs in to see if they could sniff out any leads or evidence. The dog was able to trace Jennifer’s sent from the complex where the car was found back to Jennifer’s complex. The dog went immediately to the bushes next to her condo.
Investigators conducted physical searches of the whole area behind the complex. Whenever they would find something Drew, Jennifer’s father would identify them if any items were hers. However, in the end, they didn’t find anything that belonged to Jennifer Kesse. 1,400 volunteers came to help in the searches.
The police called Rob to the scene to see if there was anything different or missing from the car, and he noticed that the front driver’s seat was moved further back, which he found unusual. In the car they found a DVD player left in the back seat, suggesting that the motive was not robbery. The amount of gas left in the car showed that it wasn’t driven much.
The area the car was found had surveillance camera’s which showed Jennifer’s car being driven in the parking lot and park and then shows someone getting out of it. However, the footage was too grainy to be able to identify the individual.
There was also footage of the person walking away from the complex parking lot after leaving the car. Unfortunately, the person’s face is blocked by the fence so police were not able to identify the person’s identity nor their gender, the only thing they were able to identify was the person stands 5’3 to 5’5.
Police decided to put Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend on their list of possible suspects, this was because after they had broken up apparently he was devastated by it because he was in love with her and wanted to be with her. He would beg her to get back together but she would always tell him no she was no longer interested.
Investigators found out that the ex-boyfriend had gone to a bar, completely intoxicated, across the street from Jennifer’s condo, the night that she had disappeared. The ex-boyfriend claims he has nothing to do with Jennifer’s disappearance and police have no evidence suggesting he was/is involved.
Investigators also looked into the construction workers in the complex, as some of these workers were admitting to living in some of the empty units. Jennifer had told her parents that she felt uneasy about the number of workers that were around and that she would get cat-called and they would stare at her. This made her always call her parents whenever she was around them to feel safe.
Once the case started gaining publicity, the construction workers started disappearing. Police found it difficult to track most of them down because most of them were undocumented immigrants from various countries. The few that were registered were questioned and could not connect any of them to Jennifer.
One of Jennifer’s co-workers was obsessed with her, Jennifer had told her father several times that she was uncomfortable around him. Other co-workers had also said that he constantly casually ask Jennifer out at work, she always told him that she never dates anyone from work and this made him really upset. Investigators also found out that he was late to work on the morning Jennifer went missing. This co-worker had also made a comment about Jennifer saying that she was probably eaten by gators by now when he found out she was missing. When co-workers heard him make that comment they contacted the police, however, he was able to prove that he was late to work that morning because he got a speeding ticket that morning.
In 2008, one of the construction workers that were questioned at the time of Jennifer’s disappearances was arrested for statutory rape. When he was questioned again he told police that he had actually been inside Jennifer’s condo because sometimes they would have to go inside the condos to do work.
Whenever the workers went inside her condo, she would also call her parents and stand in her doorway with the door open. However, the worker claimed when she would let them in she would always leave and tell them to lock the door on the way out, although, Jennifer’s dad says this is not true because the last time they were in her condo he was on the phone with her.
Despite this information, police could not find any links to Jennifer and the construction worker.
Police’s efforts to get as many people to see Jennifer Kesse’s face included putting wanted people’s faces on the back of playing cards for inmates to see, this included Jennifer’s face. In December 2008, a prison supervisor contacted the Kesse family and told them that one of the inmates on death row, recognized Jennifer and had information about her but would only tell them Drew in a face-to-face meeting.
On the 9th anniversary of Jennifer Joyce Kesse’s disappearance, an age progression image was released to the public and was shown on the news.
The Kesse family have felt let down by the police and their investigation so they hired a private investigator. In 2018, the family also sued the Orlando Police Department for access to all the records of Jennifer’s case.
In June 2010, the FBI took over the investigation and added Jennifer Kesse to the FBI’s Most Wanted/Missing List.
Jennifer’s family has set up a GoFundMe page where they hope to raise $200,000 to pay for their private investigator.
Tips in 2019
On November 8th, 2019, the family’s private investigator found a tip deep in the police records.
In 2016, a woman claimed to have witnessed a man driving a pickup truck to Lake Fisher. She told police that the man had taken out what appeared to be a six-to-eight-foot piece of rolled-up carpet and had dumped it into the lake, and watched it sink.
Searches were conducted by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and despite a three-day search of the lake and surrounding area with cadaver dogs and a dive team, no signs of Jennifer were found.
Updates in 2020
In Novemeber2020, new images of Jennifer’s car were released, which suggest a violent struggle may have taken place on the front hood of her black Chevrolet Malibu.
Jennifer’s father, Drew Kesse, told Fox News “It looked like someone was thrown down on the top of the hood – arms spread out and then dragged back almost like off the hood to the point where you can almost see fingers scribbling down the hood.”
Additionally, investigators have also uncovered a previously unseen fingerprint belonging to Jennifer, as well as a large boot print near the gas pedal of her car.
If you have any information on the disappearance of Jennifer Joyce Kesse please contact the Orlando Police Department at 321-235-5300 or call the Central Florida Crimeline 800-423-TIPS. You can also contact the Kesse family tip line at 941-201-4009.
A $5000 reward is being offered by the Central Florida Crimeline for information leading to finding Jennifer Kesse.
Resources and Further Information
Disappeared Season 7 Episode 10 – Girl Interrupted
House of Broken Dreams podcast – The Jennifer Kesse Story