JENNIFER RENEE ODOM was a 12-year-old girl living in the small rural community of St. Joseph, located in Pasco County, Florida. The home that she resided in with her mom, dad & younger sister, sat on 15 acres & was surrounded by a small, tight knit community. Jennifer disappeared on the afternoon of February 19th, 1993, while making the short walk from her school bus stop to her home. After a massive search, Her body was found 6 days later in an orange grove, located about 10 miles from her home, in neighboring Hernando County. Although thousands of tips & leads have come in over the past 25 years, Jennifer’s abduction & murder has never been solved, Adding to the angst of her family as well as the anxiety & fear of those living nearby.
1993 – 1995 TIMELINE
- FEBRUARY 19th, 1993 ~ 3pm: Jennifer Gets off of her school bus, located at the intersection of Jessamine and Jim Denney roads, waves to friends & begins to walk the 200 yards from the bus stop to her house. She never made it home. Friends on the bus later report seeing an older, faded blue pick up truck stopped on the side of the road nearby & stated that the truck began slowly “creeping” in the same direction that Jennifer was walking. It’s the last time she’s seen alive.
- FEBRUARY 19TH,1993 ~ 4PM: Jennifer’s younger sister, Jessica, arrives home on a seperate bus & can’t get inside of the house. Thinking her big sister is playing a trick on her (as they often did to each other), she walks down the road to their grandmother’s house to get a key, returning a short time later. Looking around, she quickly determines that Jennifer is NOT inside…Confused & a little panicked, she contacts one OR both parents at work to alert them.
- FEBRUARY 19TH, 1993 ~ Approximately 5pm: Jennifer’s parents arrive home & begin calling friends to see if anyone had seen her. Hearing that she had last been seen walking toward home, they immediately notify local authorities of their daughter’s dissapearance.
- FEBRUARY 19TH, 1993 – FEBRUARY 25TH: Police begin investigating the disappearance. The close knit community of St. Joseph rallies together to assist in the search for Jennifer with 100’s of volunteers showing up to try & locate the missing 12-year-old honor student. During this period, Law Enforcement would utilize EVERY resource available, including trained search & rescue canines, with the hope that she would be located quickly. A total of 60+ miles were covered during the search effort.
- FEBRUARY 25TH, 1993: A couple searching an abandoned orange grove in southeast Hernando County, find Jennifer’s body…She is found just 10 miles from home. It would later be released that her cause of death is “Blunt Force Trauma” of the head & that she had been sexually assaulted. Her clothing was missing as were her backpack, jacket & clarinet case.
- JANUARY 5TH, 1995: A couple looking for scrap metal in Hernando County find a book bag and clarinet case in a rural area. Both match the description of the items that Jennifer had been carrying at the time of her dissapearance & are thought to possibly be hers when the couple open the bag & see a textbook with her name inside. Police later confirm when fingerprints found on things within the bag, indeed match those of Jennifer. They are found 30 miles from her home & 18 miles from where her body had been located almost 2 years earlier.
FACTS CONFIRMED TO BE TRUE:
LOOK INTO ANY case, you will come across tons of rumors, half-truths & assumptions. Most of the time those things are created with the best of intentions…But even the purest of intentions can muddy the waters. In the era of the “Arm Chair Detective,” you still have to be mindful of what’s out there. I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty (more than a few times!) of reading up on a case & hopping on FB to report my “findings” A’La Casey Anthony (Ya’ll know she definitely DID IT!!)…ALL joking aside, I’m learning that you have to check your facts & even once they’ve been verified as the God’s Honest Truth, you still have to be very careful about what you decide to put out there. That being said, I wanted to provide a rundown of ACTUAL facts. I know them to be 100% legit because I took them directly from the Hernando Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Site. So, Here is what the HCSO is stating to be FACT as well as what they believe to be TRUE:
FACT: Jennifer was last seen alive at approximately 3pm on February 19th, 1993 as she exited her bus & began the 200 yard walk from her bus stop to her house.
FACT: It is believed that Jennifer’s abductor may have been driving an old, faded blue pickup truck as one was reported by her friend’s riding the bus slowly following Jennifer as she walked home.
FACT: As of today, Jennifer’s clothing has NOT been located.
FACT: Investigators believe that Jennifer’s abductor was well acquainted with the area due to how quickly he was able to get away from the abduction site, where her body was dumped & due to the fact that the area where her missing backpack & clarinet case were located was very rural & NOT a place that someone would just happen upon.
THE FOLLOWING ARE examples of the clothing that Jennifer was last seen wearing. These items were taken directly from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Unsolved Homicide Website. In addition to these items, she was also wearing a red, pullover sweater that was possibly cashmiere OR Angora.
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