What kind of beauty queen would let a little lipstick spoil her day?
Jessica Wittenbrink was crowned "Miss South Florida Fair" Saturday night, a pageant victory that earns her a trip to the Miss Florida competition, and potentially a shot at the Miss America title.
But the victory did not come without controversy — or a visit from investigators from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Authorities were called in to probe an apparent attempt to sabotage Wittenbrink's outfit, a beaded corset top, paired with a teal blue skirt, that someone marked with four red lipstick streaks.
Ultimately, the sheriff's office found there was not enough "conclusive evidence" to name a saboteur suspect, ABC News' Palm Beach affiliate, WPBF, reported. That determination was not made until Wittenbrink's 13 opponents answered questions from authorities and pageant producers.
The lipstick streaks failed to hold Wittenbrink back, however. The contestant not only wore the marred dress during the pageant, but also ultimately scored the Miss South Florida Fair crown.
Wittenbrink, a 21-year-old business major at Northwood University, whose career ambition includes becoming a CEO of a stock brokerage firm, claimed a $4,000 scholarship for her win, which included a performance of "Someone Like You" from the Broadway musical "Jekyll and Hyde."
Reached by ABC News, Gayla Wittenbrink, Jessica's mother, declined an interview, but said her daughter was thrilled by the victory, despite the lipstick smearing.
"It's very prestigious to wear the crown in our area," said John Picano, a spokesman for the South Florida Fair, who added that the organizers had no additional comment on the pageant controversy. "The sheriff's office, they've essentially closed the case, pending new information," he said.
Wittenbrink will make a series of scheduled appearances at the popular annual event, which runs through Feb. 3.
Authorities in San Juan, Puerto Rico continue to investigate a reported sabotaging at the Miss Puerto Rico Universe competition in November. In that incident, winner Ingrid Marie Rivera claimed that her garments had been doused with pepper spray, causing hives for the beauty pageant contestant.
Rivera's claim grabbed international attention in December. Debbie Then, a social psychologist who specializes in women and appearances, told ABC News at the time that ruthlessness and unethical behavior are fairly common in pageant culture.
"People who go into these pageants, to begin with, want attention — and [lying] is one more way of trying to get it," said Then. "The pressure makes you do anything to win and stand out."