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Missing Jennifer Kesse's family holds out hope for possible DNA evidence

More than 17 years after 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse disappeared from her condo building, her family is holding out hope for potential DNA testing.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jennifer Kesse's family is holding out hope potential DNA evidence might some day help investigators solve her 2006 disappearance.

Kesse vanished from her Orlando, Florida, condo Jan. 24, 2006, when she was 24 years old. She had placed several outfit choices on her bed that morning for work before leaving her new condo located within a complex called Mosaic at Millenia, her uncle Bill Gilmour told Fox News Digital at CrimeCon 2023.

Authorities located her vehicle, a black 2006 Chevy Malibu, at a different residential complex called Huntington on the Green about a mile away from Mosaic at Millenia on Jan. 26, 2006, after a neighbor reported seeing her missing car on television.

The Orlando Police Department (OPD) apparently claimed "that there wasn't … any evidence or nothing of consequence with [her] car," said Gilmour, who recently published a book, "Aftermath of Jennifer Kesse's Abduction: An Uncle's Quest for Understanding & Inspiring Life Lessons."

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"But after my sister and brother sued them and got the records from the OPD and had their own team comb through the records — some 15-18,000 records — it said that they collected DNA in the car, which they originally said that they did not," Gilmour explained. 

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The records obtained as a result of the Kesse family's lawsuit against OPD also included images of Kesse's vehicle, which had dust from the ongoing construction at her condo complex. 

The images showed "signs of a struggle" against the hood of her car, he said.

"We were never aware of that either. So it's just, it's just disheartening," Gilmour explained of his family's frustrations with OPD.

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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement took over the case in November, and the change could allow for new testing of potential DNA evidence from Kesse's car that her family hopes still exists today. Though law enforcement has never confirmed that information to the family directly.

Other significant evidence in Kesse's case includes surveillance video images of a person of interest who has yet to be identified. The person's face is obscured by a gate on the edge of the Huntington complex as he or she walked away from Kesse's car after parking it at the Huntington complex.

Kesse's family still does not know exactly how the 24-year-old woman, who was excelling at her job and in a healthy relationship with her boyfriend at the time, disappeared after she left for work at Westgate Resorts in Ocoee.

Her colleagues reported her missing that same day because it was unlike Kesse not to call if she was going to miss work, Gilmour said.

"What we knew at that time was whatever happened was totally out of character for Jennifer. She was predictable in a good way. She was intelligent, always conscious of her surroundings and planned for her safety," Gilmour writes in his new book. "Those who knew Jennifer would agree she didn't show any signs of discontent with her life, relationships, or work environment."

The last people Kesse spoke with over the phone the night before her disappearance were her parents and boyfriend.

Because Mosaic at Millenia was under construction at the time Kesse vanished, the building allowed workers to stay in vacant condos, as Fox News previously reported.

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Gilmour writes in his book that Jennifer "had some uncomfortable experiences with some workers at her condo complex."

"Anyone who has bought a new home knows there will be continuing involvement with the developer and maintenance staff for some time. Unfortunately, Jenn lived alone and felt like she was being watched and subjected to unwelcome stares," Gilmour writes. 

Kesse even made a "formal complaint to the property management company" in charge of her building, according to Gilmour.

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Now, 17½ years later, Kesse's family is still awaiting answers about what happened to their beloved 24-year-old daughter that morning in January.

A GoFundMe page, "Help Us Find Jennifer Kesse," has raised more than $117,000 to help her family pay for the "monstrous legal fees and PI bills that have accrued over time."

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