Jennifer Kesse: Still Missing Without a Trace

After 16 months and 1,000 tips, Jennifer Kesse remains missing.


May 25, 2007 — -- What happened to Jennifer Kesse, the blonde financial adviser from Orlando, Fla., who disappeared 16 months ago? Nobody knows, but a week ago, the Orlando police announced that they may finally have a break in the case. To motivate anyone with information about the case to help investigators, Kesse's boss offered a $1 million reward for information that leads to Kesse's safe return by July 4.

Kesse, then 24, disappeared Jan. 23, 2006, apparently without a trace. She had just returned from a Caribbean cruise with her boyfriend. The following day, her parents and her boyfriend were alerted of her disappearance when she didn't arrive at work.

Her Chevy Malibu, found parked in a condominium lot near her home three days later, seemed to be the only clue. And at the time, police obtained a video of a person they now consider a "person of interest."

A week ago the Orlando police released that grainy video to the public. The video shows someone parking Kesse's car in a condominium lot near her home on the day she disappeared.

Police say they didn't release the video earlier because they were hoping to use it to check the story of any suspects. Sgt. Barbara Jones of the Orlando Police Department told ABC News that the video was held back "as an investigative tool to be able to lock a suspect into the story," but added that "its release could generate more leads, significant leads which may break the case."

Police hope that, despite the rough quality of the video, it might jog someone's memory about seeing that person that night. Kesse, at 5 feet 8 inches, is at least four inches taller than the person on the video. She has sandy blond shoulder-length hair and green eyes and weighs 125 pounds. But the past week has yet to yield results.

The parking lot camera was a considerable distance from the car and it's difficult to see the person parking it, but another camera shows that same person walking past a metal gate seconds later. In that video the person appears to be about 5 feet 4 inches in height, and wearing white socks with dark shoes. Neither camera clearly shows the person's face nor do they detail whether the person is a man or a woman.

Along with the $1 million reward being offered by Kesse's employer, her family has offered its own reward, started a Web page and been active in keeping her disappearance in the public's consciousness.

Kesse's parents addressed area media May 17, saying they believed Jennifer was abducted and had not simply run away. The release of the video showing someone else parking her car seems to reinforce the theory that there was foul play in her disappearance.

Jones, however, said that the status of the case remains the same; Jennifer Kesse is categorized as "a missing and endangered adult."

They say that Kesse called her boyfriend at around 10 p.m. the night before she disappeared. That was the last contact she had with friends or family. Her credit cards and cell phone have not been used since her disappearance, according to police, and they point to the video to show that someone else, not Kesse, was the last to drive her car.

The video shows that whoever parked the car did so very carefully, backing up at least once to make sure it went into the space straight. Police surmise that the person parking the car did not want it to attract attention, which may be why Kesse's car was not located for several days after her disappearance was reported.

Police say they have followed up more than 1,000 tips from all over the world, but so far the facts surrounding Kesse's disappearance remain elusive. Along with releasing the video, the police have a tip line 321-235-5300, as does the family 407-722-2162. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call either tip line.