Left and Center: Jessie circa, 1996
Right: Age Progressed to age 23
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: March 29, 1996
Missing From: Glendora, Los Angeles County, California
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: July 29, 1981
Age: 14 years old
Height and Weight: 5’4″ and 110 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Jessie wore orthodontic braces on her teeth at the time of her 1996 disappearance and they may have been removed from her teeth afterwards, she may dye her hair a dark brown color
NCMEC Number: 817080
Details of Disappearance
Jessie was last seen in Glendora, California on March 29th 1996. She was last known to be at her home after her mother, Cheryle Peters, left for work. She disappeared at some point while at her house by herself and was never seen or heard from again. Investigators initially believed she was a runaway.
Cheryle also believed her daughter was runaway and hoped for her safe return for years after her disappearance. Authorities at the time believed Jessie had remained in the local area after her disappearance and that she may have been traveling with an adult male companion. Investigators no longer believe she left on her own accord.
Jessie didn’t take any clothing or personal possessions when she disappeared and there’s been no indication as to her whereabouts since 1996. Investigators now suspect that Jessie was abducted, raped, and murdered on the day of her disappearance. The classification of her case was changed to endangered missing in the early 2000s.
Investigators believe Jessie was killed by Janeen Marie Snyder and Michael Forrest Thornton who have been dubbed as “The Beauty Killers.” Thornton had an obsession with teenaged girls and would use Snyder and her trusting nature to lure their victims. Snyder met Thornton after she ran away from her home when she was 13 or 14. Thornton was in his 30s when he met Snyder.
Snyder eventually became Thornton’s lover and a part time stripper in Las Vegas, Nevada whole she maintained her residence with Thornton back in California. Evidence collected in the investigation into the pair and their victims suggested that the two likes having sexual intercourse with a third party and particularly young teenage girls.
In 2000, the two were arrested after a 14 year old girl claimed she was held against her will by both Thornton and Snyder in their home for 30 days. They were initially charged with the alleged crime but whatever charges they faced were dropped due to lack of evidence. She is believed to be their second victim.
On April 4th 2001, 16 year old Michelle Leann Curran disappeared from her neighborhood as she walked to school in Las Vegas, Nevada. Snyder and Thornton allegedly kidnapped Curran against her will and held her captive for 14 days while sexually exploiting her. She was killed after that.
Her body was discovered on April 22nd 2001 on a farm property in Rubidoux, California. An autopsy found that she was raped, tortured, and killed by a single gunshot to the head. She was killed on April 17th. Her body was found stuffed in a horse staple. Snyder and Thornton were arrested after the owner of the property saw them running from the staples.
The pair were arrested and their bond set at $1 million after police found a significant amount of blood in the farm. Curran’s remains were not discovered initially. The suspects were both charged with murder in connection to Curran’s brutal slaying.
When investigators were looking into Curran’s murder, they heard about another girl who was killed by the pair. The rumor said the girls mother worked for Thornton at one point. Jessie’s mother worked for Thornton at his chain of salons called “The Fixx.” On the day Jessie went missing, Cheryle quit out of anger and left.
Cheryle returned home where Jessie was and the house was scopes out by Janeen and Thornton. They saw Jessie and Thornton made Snyder approach the home and try to lure Jessie away. She was unsuccessful the first time since Cheryle was still at the home at that time. When Cheryle left for another job, she tried again.
Janeen managed to lure Jessie away from her home under false pretenses and into Thornton’s vehicle. Jessie could not escape as she was held at knifepoint. They took her to Lake Arrowhead where they handcuffed her to a bed. Thornton raped Jessie as Janeen watched. ￼
Thornton and Snyder killed Jessie by drowning her in a bathtub. Thornton’s wife remembers him telling her to go into the bedroom and “don’t come out whatever you hear.” She reported hearing thumping sounds coming from the bathroom. She also recalls how the pair discussed keeping the girls body parts in coolers. They also discussed how to dispose of the body.
Snyder and Thornton allegedly bragged about the crime as well and said stuff such as how Jessie’s mother would react to coming home only to see she isn’t there. During the trials penalty phase, a psychiatric expert who studied Snyder testified that Snyder confessed to killing Jessie.
Snyder stated that after Jessie’s death, her and Thornton dismembered her remains and threw them off Dana Point and into the Pacific Ocean. Snyder and Thornton were sentenced to death for Curran’s slaying and are awaiting execution. They have not been criminally charged in Jessie’s murder.
At the time of her disappearance, Jessie was described as a kind and religious teenager. She loved flowers, animals, and school. She washes attended various schools in California and New York and and was raised by her aunts until she was 12. She went to live with her mother and older brother, Robert, when she was 12 years old.
Her family was devastated by her disappearance and hoped for so long that she was alive. They have since held a memorial service for her. Jessie’s remains have never been found but foul play is suspected in her case. In 2010, a book was written about the killers and it talked about the cases they have been linked to, including Jessie’s.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Glendora Police Department 626-914-8250
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Michelle Leann Curran – Find a Grave
Porchlight International for the Missing & Unidentified