Left and Center: Jessica circa, 1986
Right: Age Progressed to age 32
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: June 5, 1986
Missing From: Lexington, Lexington County, South Carolina
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: December 3, 1981
Age: 4 years old
Height and Weight: 3’0″ and 32 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Jessica has a small scar on the upper area of her forehead and ear piercing scars on both of her ear lobes, she has a small brown colored birthmark on her right buttock and had a wart on her left hand at the time of her disappearance and her fingernails were painted, Jessica might use the nickname “Jessie”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A pink/white t-shirt and a pair of white panties
NCMEC Number: 601626
Details of Disappearance
Jessica was abducted from her home in Lexington, South Carolina on June 5th 1986. She was taken by unknown person(s) as she slept in her bedroom with her two sisters between 11:30 pm and 6:00 am the next morning. Jessica’s kidnapper(s) allegedly broke through the living room window and removed the screening and curtains.
They removed Jessica from the bedroom she was sleeping in and left through the front door of the home. Her mother, Debra, discovered her daughter missing the next morning and found the house in disarray. Jessica’s older 6 year old sister, Rebecca, stated that “the man with the magic hat and beard” had taken Jessica.
She remembers seeing a man lift Jessica out of the bed and carry her away without waking her at all. Rebecca said she was too frightened by what she saw so she waited until the next morning to tell her mother of her sisters abduction.
Investigators initially considered Jessica’s father as a possible suspect in his daughters abduction but he has since been ruled out as one and was living in California at the time of her disappearance.
Debra believes her ex boyfriend may have been involved in her daughters disappearance. She broke up with him just a few days prior to the kidnapping because of alcohol usage and what she describes as possessive behavior. She accused him of the crime but repeatedly denied involvement and said he had no knowledge of her whereabouts.
He has been questioned extensively by police and investigators but was never arrested or charged with her abduction. Debra continues to believe he might have been involved somehow with her daughters disappearance. She also suspects a family friend of being involved.
The man was 27 years old in 1986 and had served time in North Carolina prison for rape. The rape he served for occurred around a few weeks after Jessica’s abduction. Debra said she had found fibers in his vehicle which were linked to her daughter.
In 1987, the man told a fellow prison inmate that he had kidnapped a young girl in Lexington County and killed her. He stated that he had buried her body in a landfill in that location. He stated he would confess if he was given immunity for the crime. He was denied this and never confessed. He did mention that he was wearing a tall cowboy hat when he took the child.
Investigators also found his fingerprint on the outside of Jessica’s window. He has never been publicly identified or charged as a suspect. He has been named as the prime suspect in Jessica’s disappearance.
Debra believes that both men might have been involved. She does remember that both the ex boyfriend and the family friend were acquaintances before her daughters abduction and had met each other at a gathering several months before her disappearance. They remain uncharged in the case.
Debra has criticized the investigation into her daughters abduction and has stated that it was mishandled. One time when she got into an argument with the Sheriff, he threatened to stop investigating her disappearance completely. The sheriff at the time who was known as “Metts” has been arrested on corruption charges.
Jessica’s abduction remains unsolved. Investigators believe that the family friend was the one who kidnapped her but he has not been named as such due to lack of evidence.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Lexington County Sheriffs Office 803-359-8230