ORLANDO, Fla. - It’s been 12 years since Jennifer Kesse was reported missing, but her family’s search for answers has never wavered.
Channel 9 reporter Shannon Butler has been covering the case for years. She and Channel 9 anchor Greg Warmoth answered viewers' questions about the case that has captivated Central Florida for more than a decade.
Did anything go wrong at the beginning of the case that may have thrown off the investigation?
When you’re in your 20s and you go missing, at the time, there was no urgency to do anything. The family got some legislation passed to change how law enforcement deals with missing women.
Do they think she was sold into sex trafficking?
I have seen some stuff from this case. I think there is a little bit of an indication on maybe who this could be. It’s still a possibility. Sex trafficking, especially in Orlando, is a big practice. It wasn’t, at the time, something everyone was talking about.
Is it possible she’s still alive?
It is possible. There have been plenty of tips over the years. I think that hope is always there. But the reality is, after 12 years, you have to prepare to hear the worst.
Why is the family suing OPD?
They are frustrated. It isn’t about investigators not doing anything. Orlando police have worked a long time on this and have had very, very good detectives on the case. The family is saying, ‘You have had time. It’s been 12 years. Give us a chance to get our private investigator on board.’ It will be very expensive, it’ll take a long time. He will be able to take the case with fresh eyes from the very beginning.
How long until OPD considers it a cold case?
That is up to OPD. They never said they wanted to call this a cold case because tips still come in. It can never be a cold case if that’s what they (police) want it to be. As long as it’s an active investigation, Orlando police are under no obligation to release the investigation to a private investigator.
Why won’t OPD release the information about the case?
The family might argue or believes that part of it is the department does not want any missteps early in the investigation to be released. I think Orlando police still think they have a shot to solve this. But this is just so weird. No suspect. Twelve years and no suspect.
Could this be a case where the parents might be lashing out of frustration and pain?
Maybe. If my daughter just vanished today, I would stop at nothing. At what point have you done everything that you think you can do? You’ve said what you can say, you’ve been on TV thousands of times. There are 4,500 tips in this case and she’s nowhere. The family will get more tips. I don’t think it’s about a suspect for them anymore. I think they just want to know where she is.
Is there an investigator that’s been assigned to this for all 12 years?
No. The Kesse’s privately have been critical of the first few investigators when Jennifer disappeared. They have been very critical of how those initial moments were handled.
So, would a judge be able to review the evidence and make an educated decision on whether it’s imperative to keep it an active case or if OPD is keeping it just to keep their investigation?
It’s tough because emotion does play into this. The law allows OPD to keep this close to the vest. But maybe the judge will decide that some things can be released. I think that OPD will release stuff to the family but it will be redacted, which wouldn’t help.
The video of the person in the case, did they find out who that person was?
Her car was found at Texas and Americana at an apartment complex called Huntington at the Green. Someone called in a tip about it. There was not a lot of DNA evidence in the car. Remember, the technology is different than it was 12 years ago. They have never identified that person in the video. Everyone has different opinions on what that person looks like. Some say it looks like a girl, some say it looks like the person is wearing a bun.
WATCH: Shannon Butler and Greg Warmoth answers your questions about the case
© 2019 Cox Media Group.