Jennifer Kesse — Why I Don’t Completely Buy Into the Construction Worker Theory

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Before reading, please keep in mind that this is simply my personal theory and opinions. I am in no way affiliated with law enforcement, nor have I discussed any of my thoughts with law enforcement. If you disagree, feel free to do so, I only ask that you do so with respect.

Anyone with the slightest interest in true crime — or lives in Florida — is familiar with the disappearance of Jennifer Kesse. If you are not, I wrote a blog post about her a few years ago which you can find here. But to make a long story short: Jennifer Kesse was a 24-year-old successful, responsible, and beautiful young woman from Orlando, Florida that went missing on Tuesday, January 24th, 2006. Most believe that she disappeared that morning from her condo complex, the Mosaic at Millenia (the Mosaic) while on her way to work. Jennifer had a steady job as a financial manager at a successful timeshare company and was very close with her family: her father, Drew; her mother, Joyce; and her brother, Logan. She spoke to each of them everyday. This was not a young woman living a high-risk lifestyle; never any run-ins with the law, drug use, etc.

As I previously wrote about the details of this mystery in my earlier post and there is a plethora of info online, I have no intention of delving into those details here. For some reason, Jennifer began consuming my thoughts during this past week or two after not thinking about her case much since I last wrote about it. So, I began revisiting what I had previously read plus other info I hadn’t come across prior, as well as the various podcasts dedicated to this mystery. There are many theories floating around the true crime community regarding — not only who is responsible for disappearance — but also whether or not her abduction took place the night of Monday, January 23rd or the morning of Tuesday, January 24th. My theory is based on the belief that her abduction took place on Tuesday morning with an incident taking place the night before leading to said crime.

Construction Worker Theory

Many people, including the Kesse family, believe the workers at Jennifer’s condo complex are responsible. Jennifer had just moved in three months earlier. Extensive construction work was still taking place at the Mosaic and many of the units were vacant, including the ones on the second floor where Jennifer lived. Most of the workers were undocumented and a little shady. Jennifer had mentioned several times to family and friends that they made her uncomfortable and frequently stared, and made cat calls. To make things worse, these workers were allowed to stay in the empty units during their employment at the Mosaic. To say that security was lax is an understatement. The community was supposed to have been gated, however the gate was not operating and anyone could come and go anytime, day or night.

While I do believe at least one of these workers is involved, I find it hard to believe they are 100% responsible. Why? Let’s say they had been watching her comings and goings for a couple of weeks. According to the Kesse family who, again, were extremely close to Jennifer, she was very much a creature of habit and very safety minded. Every morning she either called or texted her long-time boyfriend, Rob, on her way to work. She was always communicating with someone while out and about and constantly aware of her surroundings, taking precautions. Predators notice these things. This would make her a difficult target.

In addition, a few days prior to Jennifer going missing, she and Rob took a trip to St. Croix. While they were away, her brother Logan stayed at her condo along with some friends of his. One of these friends happened to be, Matt, an ex-boyfriend of Jennifer’s who remained friends with Logan after their breakup. Remember, being a creature of habit, Jennifer would normally have a regimented routine so this trip, plus unfamiliar guys staying at her place would have thrown off the routine to anyone watching her. How did they know she would be going into work the very next day she came home from vacation? Jennifer and Rob were flying home on Sunday night. As their flight home was delayed, she ended up spending the night at Rob’s house (more that two hours away from where she lived and worked), woke up early the next morning, filled up the gas tank and drove directly to work, talking to her family on the way there. She didn’t get home until 6:30 that night after being at work all day. In my opinion, if one of those workers had been watching her, this series of events would have thrown them off and any schemes would have been delayed.

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Monday Night, January 23rd

On this night, Jennifer spoke on the phone to several people, including her family and Rob. Her brother Logan informed her that a friend he had over to her condo that weekend left his work cell phone behind and asked if she could FedEx it to him. She said that she would do so the next day. She spoke on the phone to Rob at approximately 10PM and mentioned that she would be going to sleep soon. At one point during her phone calls there was a knock on her door to which she did not respond. To this day, no one knows who that may have been but I will share my thoughts with you on that shortly. While Jennifer is at home, across the street from her condo complex at a bar called Blue Martini, Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend Matt is drinking and, by all accounts, inebriated. During an interview on the Unconcluded podcast, Jennifer’s mother, Joyce said that Matt did not live anywhere near there. He lived by the University of Central Florida (UCF) which is about twenty-five minutes away from Blue Martini. According to different accounts, either Matt or his brother spent time with Logan over the weekend at her condo. Whether or not it was Matt or his brother who was there, the fact of the matter is, Matt was friends with Logan and would have known about her trip with current boyfriend Rob. Some accounts online state that he was also dating someone at this point whom he eventually married. As far as I can tell, if he was involved with someone else, this person was not accompanying him at Blue Martini. It should also be noted that he didn’t go into work the following day; Tuesday, January 24th.

Going back to the differing opinions on when the abduction took place: some believe it happened on Monday night due to cell phone tower pings coming from her phone and Logan’s friend’s phone. The trouble with this is that some of those pings made no sense; a few of them occurring at the same time in different locations. There are also discrepancies as to whether or not both phones were shut down or the batteries were removed, etc. I won’t delve much into that as I’m not an expert on cell phone technology. In fact, I’m far from it. I lean towards a morning disappearance as, in my opinion, I believe there is more evidence pointing to this. Jennifer’s contacts were out of their case and she never slept with them on, a pair of new shoes that Jennifer told her mother she was excited to wear for the first time that day were gone, clothes were laid out on the bed that would have matched those shoes (as if she was deciding which to wear), cosmetics out in the bathroom, etc. Joyce noticed all of these things when searching through the condo and remember, they were very close, speaking several times a day. And let’s be honest, a mother knows her child, especially if they’re that tight.

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Mall at Millenia where Blue Martini is located.

My Theory

Please bear in mind that these are simply my thoughts and you can take them or leave them. Something inside of me nudged me to share these thoughts so here we go:

Going back to the ex--boyfriend, Matt; according to Jennifer’s family, when Jennifer broke up with him, he took it very hard. He did not want the relationship to end and tried to reconcile on various occasions. While some accounts do state that he was involved with someone else at the time of her vanishing, whose to say there weren’t some residual feelings? If he was hanging out with Logan that weekend (and not his brother according to some sources) how was he truly feeling being her newly purchased condo while she’s on a romantic vacation with her boyfriend?

Why was he at a bar a half hour away from where he lived? He lived in a college community where I’m sure there were plenty of bars. What if he had an argument with the person he was dating at the time, causing him to hop in his car and go for a drive to cool off. Subconsciously (or consciously) he drives in the direction of Jennifer’s complex, ending up at the Mall of Millenia, directly across the street from her and decides to hit Blue Martini for a drink or two. How many times have we been in distress and a drink or two becomes several? How many times have we had one too many drinks and made the grave mistake of drunk dialing/texting an ex? Or maybe even sought out an ex that you knew was nearby?

No one knows who knocked on Jennifer’s door while she was on the phone. According to the True Crime Garage podcast, Jennifer supposedly told the person on the phone that she thought it was a neighbor. No one else lived on Jennifer’s floor at this time. Did she look through the peephole when she heard this knock? Either way, she didn’t answer the door while she was on the phone.

What if, after hanging up with Rob, who was the last known person to speak to her, there was another knock on the door? Let’s say she looks through the peephole and sees Matt on the other side of the door. Before opening the door they exchange a few words. (“What do you want? What are you doing here?”) According to everyone who knew her, Jennifer was a very caring and compassionate person, maybe realizing he was in distress, she let him in as he was in no condition to drive home. Yes, he was an ex, but he was also her younger brother’s friend and possibly someone she viewed as needing her help. Ensuring that he’s aware she’s only doing this because she doesn’t want any harm to come to him, she allows him to sleep it off on the couch, floor…anywhere but in her room! The next morning she could drive him to his car. She locks her bedroom door and goes to sleep.

Were any records found that proved he took a cab home or that someone gave him a ride home that night and they can prove this?

The following morning a witness claimed to have seen Jennifer’s car driving erratically coming out of her complex. Let’s say a fight between Jennifer and Matt broke out as she was driving him to his car parked in the lot of Blue Martini. This would have been around 7:30–8:00 AM so I’m going to guess there weren’t too many cars parked there. What if the exchange gets extra heated and, being hungover and irrational, he hits Jennifer, knocking her unconscious? Maybe he even strangles her? While she’s unconscious, he somehow transfers her body to his car. Could there have been undocumented immigrants hanging out in that parking lot or a nearby one who were looking for work and Matt bribed them with cash to help him clean up the mess he created…including moving her Chevy Malibu to the Huntington on the Green apartment complex?

Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend was questioned by police several times and was cleared but at the same time, it’s widely known that the case was botched up and compromised from the beginning. When her parents called police to report her missing, there concerns were quickly dismissed. The police assumed she had an argument with her boyfriend and decided to take off in anger. This makes no sense as they weren’t living together so why would she feel the need to go anywhere? All she would have to do is hang up the phone and not answer it if he tried to call her back. Also, keep in mind that she drove more that two hours to work that morning from Rob’s house after a flight the night before and didn’t get to go home until 6:30 that night. Chances are, she was looking forward to crashing out. Her apartment was never even processed for fingerprints. Family and friends were the ones who got the search started and contacted the media about her disappearance, not police. So I believe much was overlooked and dismissed.

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The Person of Interest

Anyone who has followed this case is well aware of the luckiest person of interest alive. (The POI) This is the individual who moved Jennifer’s car to Huntington on the Green; an apartment complex around a mile away from hers with a very sketchy reputation. Security cameras in the complex recorded someone parking her car near the pool and poor-quality footage captures the POI walking away, however in each frame his face is blocked. (Video footage can be seen here.)

Many speculate that the POI looks like he could be a painter or some sort of laborer and once the car was discovered and the investigation got under way, the Orange County sheriff’s bloodhound tracked the driver’s scent from the driver’s seat all the way back to Jennifer’s building. Were one of the workers paid to park her car? Is it possible that Matt bribed one of the workers to move her car, knowing that there could be cameras around and didn’t want to risk being captured by them? Why move it to Huntington on the Green? Maybe Matt simply told the worker to move it somewhere away from the Mosaic and, for a myriad of reasons, Huntington was the first place that came to the worker’s mind.

I can’t even begin to imagine what the Kesse family has been feeling and dealing with these fourteen years. This case has always bothered me and, as I mentioned earlier, has inexplicably been eating away at me lately. If anyone has any information regarding this case that can help the Kesse family in any way, they should contact the Kesse Family Tip Line at 941–201–4009.

References:

Unconcluded podcast

True Crime Garage — Jennifer Kesse

Kesse Family’s Go Fund Me page

Brenda Thornlow is an author, animal advocate, and certified Reiki Master from New York. Her books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

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