Oxygen Maura Murray series: Episode 3 – After The Crash

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

Another Saturday night means another episode of The Disappearance of Maura Murray on Oxygen.

Episode three proceeded into the continuation of Kathleen Murray’s interview with Maggie. Basically Kat discusses her unhappiness with her life back in 2004. Drinking was how she functioned with her problems. Perhaps Maura knowing Kat’s slip ups with sobriety brought sadness to herself.

One interesting quote that caught my attention during this interview was that Kat sometimes dreams about Maura escaping her old life. In her dreams, Kat becomes angry with her sister for choosing the runaway scenario. Naturally this is a reaction any family member should feel for their missing loved ones. Kat, along with the remaining Murrays, would likely feel bitterness —among a host of strong emotions— towards that scenario because whatever was happening in the family unit didn’t suffice enough for Maura to intentionally leave.

Once again Bill the boyfriend is brought up. Bill chose to not correspond with Maggie but his friend, Bob McLean, spoke on camera about the disappearance. Tim and Lance from Missing Maura Murray joined Maggie for the Bob interview.

Bob doesn’t have suspicions about Bill’s potential involvement in Maura going away. Bill’s reticence seems rather normal to his friend because he eventually married and began having kids. From the many news clips I’ve seen involving the case, Bill was interviewed directly in the 20/20 and Montell Williams episodes. Back then he made proactive efforts to find Maura. Naturally through the years Bill needed to move on. He’s not the same early 20’s guy with the glasses speaking on camera. 

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Fred, Maura, and Bill

The next sit down involved Fred. The deeply personal question Maggie asked him before the commercial break left every viewer taking a deep breath.

Did he sexually assault Maura, his youngest daughter?

“Of course not,” Fred answered passionately in his defense.

The hard question was brought up because James Renner speculates this issue in True Crime Addict. This intimate issue is one of the reasons James speculates Maura wanted to escape the men in her life.

Maggie was very courageous for asking such a serious question. Fred’s response still held a level of decorum for a salacious question not worth answering. 

The speculation about abuse, the $4000, and more are conversation topics that goes to a side street leading to a dead end in Fred’s words. The white noise is “slowing us down” because people aren’t relying on facts of the case to form constructive action.

Fred’s determination in finding Maura reminds me of another forlorn father trying to bring back his own daughter: Drew Kesse. 

Jennifer Kesse was a Florida financial analyst who disappeared on January 24, 2006. From that fateful Tuesday morning when Jennifer didn’t report to work and failed to answer phone calls from her loved ones, the Kesse family reported Jennifer missing. 

Unconcluded is a podcast that focuses entirely on Jennifer’s case. I recommend Unconcluded for people interested in true crime or missing person cases. Jennifer’s parents, Drew and Joyce Kesse, have appeared on the podcast. This is a rare and special event because not many relatives will simply show for any show. 

Drew’s testimony in searching for Jennifer on Unconcluded is so powerful. Drew and Fred both contain that same determination and agony for their missing daughters. This is a club no relative wants to be included in. 

Drew has stated before that Jennifer is not an object. This is meant for the opportunists, selfish, and bored people who speculate and seek their own interest that doesn’t garner the proper attention on Jennifer’s case. 

The same should be said for Maura. 

Halfway through this episode, Art, Maggie, Tim, and Lance work through the case timeline. Art mentioned that he once operated as a dispatcher. His comment was directed towards Faith Westman’s 911 call and the narrative dispatchers are supposed to jot down. This made me rethink Faith’s description of possibly seeing a man smoking a cigarette alongside Maura. 

Now I think that Faith might not have realized or seen Maura accepting a ride and slipping into the car of the person smoking the cigarette. Faith could have confused the stranger’s car with Maura’s Saturn. 

I really think this is a telling point but I could be wrong on this account. This scenario clicked and made sense in my head when I watched the timeline sit down last night. 

In my last blog regarding episode two, I mentioned the record store employee, Roxanne, was interviewed during Tim and Lance’s Canadian trip. Roxanne was tracked down and interviewed by Maggie in episode three. Roxanne discussed the alleged meeting with Maura, then later shown age progression photos of what Maura could have looked like at around 30 years old. 

In my opinion, Maura doesn’t resemble the age progression photos. I couldn’t recognize her if it saved my life. Anyways, Roxanne now thinks she might have confused the interaction with another stranger. 

Elizabeth Greenwood, author of Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud, discussed on the show that the chances of planning a disappearance more likely takes years in advance. In this case, Maura would have planned the escape during her teenage years. This seems far fetched for most young girls to execute. Teenagers like myself wondered what we wanted to accomplish during and after high school. Life is unpredictable for easily impressioned individuals, especially for teenagers and young adults. 

Elizabeth isn’t the leading research expert in missing person cases involving manufacturing your own escape but I put some stock into what she had to say. Last year I read an excerpt from Playing Dead but never got around to finishing the book. Elizabeth has even appeared on the podcast Criminal this past year. 

This week on The Dr. Oz Show, Julie Murray emotionally clarified that Maura’s view of the world was narrow at 21. Maura’s reasons for fleeing UMASS to New Hampshire remains unknown but it reflects a young woman’s impulsive desire, a desire that didn’t assure her utmost street smarts and safety. 

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Jennifer Joyce Kesse

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Without digging too deep into Jennifer Kesse’s disappearance, you would fully understand she was a stand up citizen. Episode 8 of Unconcluded, focused simply and solely on Jennifer’s individuality and experiences with loved ones.

Just knowing the simple fact that she moved into her first apartment at 24 years old is enough to realize her mature responsibility. I’m galaxies away from properly adulting. Times today are different though.

Jen could make a killer mac and cheese. She could recite an entire rap song after a couple of listens. Even after one of her roommate’s was experiencing a tough breakup, Jen drove an hour to deal and comfort her friend. Overall it’s understood Jennifer was genial, compassionate, and considerate.

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Again, I didn’t need to undertake these details to see Jennifer was a great person before Unconcluded came around. White noise, misinformation, and ignorance will make some people think a certain way about a missing or murdered person. Just like Drew Kesse said, Jennifer is not an object. Some of those people who view her as such do not grasp the big picture.

Besides that I’m glad Jen’s family and friends reinforce to the public that she was very conscious for her own safety. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Jen possessed a low victimology profile.

I want to discuss the episodes involving the alleged witnesses who saw Jennifer before or after she disappeared.

Lisa from Tennessee rushed out of the blue. For a moment I thought she’s a raconteur. Possibly how she could have remembered specific details from an uncomfortable encounter that occurred in 2006 or 2007? While I’m sympathize with her story, I don’t believe Lisa actually witnessed Jennifer at the jewelry store. The incident sounds stranger than fiction. Likely it’s just mistaken identity. Anyways I appreciate that Lisa contacted the Unconcluded hosts, which led down the path for her speaking to the Orlando Police Department and the FBI.

Erica’s story is the one I keep thinking about. Back in early June, after I attended the final day of CrimeCon in Indianapolis, I listened to ‘Roundabout’ in my Airbnb. Given the proximity of the Northridge Apartments to the Mosaic at Millenia, I truly believe Erica encountered that brief meeting with Jennifer. I don’t think you can mistaken Jen introducing herself by name and having a real sit down about things. The specific detail about Kesse sounding cutely like the word ‘kisses’ and Jen’s unique physical description according to Erica sounds like a dead ringer. Things became all too real when she witnessed the local news circulating Jen’s disappearance in real time.

However, Erica’s description of seeing a blonde woman being sort of subdued on January 23, 2006, sounds weird to me. While she may have witnessed the uncomfortable encounter, I do not know whether the blonde was actually Jennifer herself.

Moreover, the episode ‘HOTG’ (short for the Huntington on the Green apartments) included a resident by the name of Flo. Flo sounds just as sincere as Lisa and Erica but it’s rather weird to come across Jennifer on January 24, 2006. Jen’s Chevy Malibu was dumped at the HOTG by noon. By the time she allegedly and politely greeted, “Hey, how ya doin?” to Flo around 3PM, Jen’s family frantically arrived at the Mosiac at Millenia. I haven’t seen a picture of the prostitute who resembles Jennifer, but I’m willingly to bet the prostitute greeted Flo on that day.

It’s been repeated that the construction workers employed for the Mosiac at Millenia catcalled Jen. Some women feel flattered by catcalling while other women do not appreciate getting recognized in this detached, sexualized manner. I’m sick of men addressing women this way. While this detail is likely not too significant to the investigation, it still indicates Jen felt discomfort with unwelcomed attention by strangers. It’s rather unfortunate that the workers could not be traced. It’s very possible someone close became fixated towards Jennifer.

USA Today, Herald Tribune, and Crime Watch Daily have contributed articles in the last two weeks dedicated to Unconcluded’s efforts in vocalizing Jen’s cold case. I’ve haven’t seen an investigative podcast gather local and national attention lately besides Serial and Accused. I hope the Tampa and Orlando news affiliates that interviewed Shaun become a game changer. It’s important to show a real face bringing this case to the surface. I’m sure the person of interest who dumped the Malibu at the HOTG watched the segments. He better not forget what’s going on. He should be sweating in fear.

Somebody knows who you are.

A GoFundMe page was created recently to support the Kesse’s in bringing more awareness to Jennifer’s case. I will be donating soon. Anyone who remotely cares about this investigation should offer financial help. So far over $1000 has generated — a great lead by far.

 

Unconcluded Episode 3 – Person of Interest

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

IMG_5601The opening of Unconcluded was reminiscent of Serial: Scott inspecting the Huntington on the Green while on call with co-host Shaun. The tone of Scott’s voice was concerning. Being stared by some unknown men, he became flustered and told Shaun to stay on the line with him. With no explanation of the location or subject matter, this opening would sound pretty tense to outsiders. Hearing a grown man feel fear comes off a little cinematic.

Between the HOTG and the Mosaic at Millenia, a contrast lies. Retails stores like Best Buy circulated near Jenn’s apartment. The spot where her Malibu was dumped shows a different picture. I’ve never been in an environment where a “no guns allowed” sign welcomed an apartment building. The fact that the HOTG pool rested near street view versus a private back entrance is weird. My advice as a lifelong Florida resident is to not live in a spot where passerby can easily spot you in a bikini.

While the Kesse’s rushed to the Mosaic circa 3PM on Monday, January 24, Joyce wouldn’t see the CCTV footage until the following Friday. I’m sure she felt an invasion of privacy seeing the man walk away from the scene. The audacity of it all. In her initial description the person of interest looked like a teenager with a tight bun. That kind of physicality never crossed my mind. The man appears to sport a bowl cut. Based on FBI’s estimation this POI stood between 5’3” to 5’5”.

Weird to imagine this guy taking on Jen at her 5’8” height.

If Jen’s case reached resolution, I could easily envision it being covered on Investigation Discovery’s See No Evil. 

The case continues being frozen even after the footage was fully released in May 2007. 

I recently watched the 48 Hours program on Jen’s disappearance called “Stolen Beauty”, which includes the recently resolved case of Tara Grinstead. While the cases possessed similar hall markings, it was alluded if both were connected. Ocilla, Georgia is nothing like Orlando. You can’t compare small town USA with a major metropolitan city that hosts a universal vacation destination by the name of Disney. Tara and Jen vanished three months apart but that means very little.

People disappear everyday. 

One of the OPD detectives who investigated Jen’s case mentioned it’s the hardest case he’s worked on in his 20 year career. The feeling’s mutual when there aren’t enough clues to determine. I believe somewhere in police files lies an important nugget of information.

Neighbors didn’t witness Ryan Duke enter Tara’s property. The same can be described for the POI in Jennifer’s investigation. Ryan had not once surfaced on police radar until his arrest in February 2017 — almost 12 years after Tara was reported missing.

It’s an unbelievable thing for people to become missing and murdered before your eyes.

Was it premeditated? I would yes. The time stamps described by Shaun on ‘Person of Interest’ indicates the man dropped off the car and walked away no less than a minute. He walked 102 feet into obscurity. Jen’s remains were hidden or buried really well to secure his alibi by noon.

Joyce corrected herself in episode 3 by stating the dog scent actually led to the bottom stairwell of the Mosaic overlooking a pond.

Seems to me her Malibu was their –POI and Jen– main mode of transportation during the commission of the crime. If he accessed his own car, I don’t think he would have utilized Jen’s to begin with.

The forensic evidence taken from her vehicle is of interest. Was there male DNA from the POI? How much gas was in the tank? 

When Logan and his friends stayed over Jen’s apartment while she vacationed in the St. Croix, did they see or experience anything vital?

Down the line I’m interested to hear about the people in Jen’s life. This will be discussed in episode 4 of the podcast. I’m expecting to hear about her supposed creepy co-worker. Somewhere on the internet I read one lengthy detailed blog about this guy. There’s also a local Hispanic man possibly pointed as the POI on Websleuths. He looks very convincing in my opinion. Before Unconcluded premiered I would think about these two separate guys from time to time. There’s a chance for a wider audience to learn about these individuals. From there we can work on offenders or killers in the vicinity, including women who have been attacked or gone missing like Jennifer. 

I think we can learn a thing or two about approaching investigations through podcasts, even coming from Up & Vanished, the podcast about Tara Grinstead’s disappearance. While Tara’s case does not immediately connect to Jennifer’s, the ways to network and discover information has become more intimate than hiring a private investigator. The city of Orlando should be aware of Unconcluded through the media. Newspapers, online articles, and interviews can broaden the podcast’s profile.

The tree shook Tara’s case this way.

More coverage means bringing even more heat. 

It’s all about cracking the killer or killer’s family and friends to speak up.  

 

 

 

 

 

Unconcluded Episode 2 – Endpoints

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Finally the two week wait was over. Episode 2 of Unconcluded arrived yesterday. A surprised awaited the audience:

Joyce Kesse.

Considering that Unconcluded recently premiered, I find Joyce’s sudden appearance unprecedented for any podcast on the scene covering an investigation of this capacity.

I did forget to mention in my last post that Joyce was acquainted with Shaun’s wife. This significant detail makes Shaun and Scott’s mission with Unconcluded much more personal.

IMG_5498Pretty much Joyce’s on board with the podcast. The discussion on Jennifer was really interesting. The particularities of her personality caught my attention such as Jenn preferably showering in the mornings, going over the latest Law & Order episodes with her mom, and checking the surroundings around her Honda vehicle.

The little things.

The misinformation in which the guys teased in the days leading up to ‘Endpoints’ actually dealt with confusion on the case timeline. The Kesse clan arrived at the Mosaic at Millenia by Tuesday afternoon at 3:15 PM — not at noon as Shaun had originally thought according to reports made on Greta Van Susteran’s former FOX NEWS show.

Meanwhile Jenn’s Honda was dumped at the Huntington on The Green Condominiums three hours before around 12:00PM. I understand why Shaun felt stumped for a moment: he assumed Jenn’s family arrived when the person of internet just barely covered their tracks around the corner.

Unfortunately the mark was missed.

An unnatural turn events occurred on January 24, 2006, so much for the Kesse family to hit the road right away. Normally one would think maybe the person fell ill, left their phone at home, etc. Jenn scheduled responsibility and tactfulness into her life. I’m confounded on how her disappearance unraveled.

 

I Google Map searched her neighborhood. Tranquility is what I sensed. Shift down to the houses on Moxie Blvd, they resemble distinctly to the ones near my former residence. As for the Huntington apartments, I can see why people say it’s “rough”. Rusty might be another way to describe the scenery. A shoddy-esque plaza sits next to these apartments. Familiar parts unknown as such existed close by where I lived.

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The matter of fact way this elusive figure strolled by doesn’t surprise me. He doesn’t appear alarming or dangerous. People who might have witnessed his presence don’t recognize the significance of his role. When you think about it… people are away working or leaving for lunch break at noon. The mundane activity happening in the vicinity comes off typical for Tuesday. This person recognized the dismal neighborhood vibe besides his obliviousness to CCTV.

Confounding and serious questions come up.

Did the POI knock on Jenn’s door?

Was she snatched in the parking lot?

Did the POI break and enter in her Mosaic apartment?

When did they encounter each other?

Maybe Jenn was cajoled somehow.

The shower detail seems rather ordinary.  The damp towel found in Jenn’s home. The clothes positioned on her bed. Just sounds like Jenn rose early in preparation for work. If Jenn didn’t power off her phone as habit the night before, then I’d find that weird. Purportedly turning it off or removing the battery already sounds uncharacteristic, including Travis’ own cell phone. Given it’s 2006 and pre-smartphone days, I have no reason to think why she would attempt that.

I’m sure Jenn felt rested and rejuvenated arriving home from St. Croix. The last known hours of her life involved chatting on the phone with her boyfriend. Everything seems run of the mill until she vanished.

Families of missing or murdered loved ones encounter all kinds of people during this serious and sensitive plight. Psychics, charlatans, detectives. One remarkable detail in the Joyce phone call was hearing about the selfish people who surfaced. The woman who walked up to Joyce wanted her boyfriend to falsely take the fall as the man captured on CCTV. The level of crazy is incomprehensible. Personally I’d be shaking in my boots if any loony sized me up that way. The audacity of strangers inserting themselves is unavoidable.

Podcasts like Unconcluded provide a personal look into the case journey.

You can tell the hosts really care about progress and resolution. Anything is possible. Currently as I’m blogging this post the podcast peaks at #69 on the Itunes Chart, beating past Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace and Vice. More listeners are definitely paying attention compared to the weeks prior.

I’m predicting that a score of individuals will contact Shaun and Scott. Investigators, psychologists, and locals will likely want to lend their voices. Jennifer’s friends might even feel inclined to share their budding memories. People peripherally connected or not connected with cases commonly step forward with podcasts in the same vein.

Right now Joyce Kesse reaching out serves as a smooth indicator that Shaun and Scott are doing the right thing. I’m curious about their trip to Jennifer’s neighborhood, which will be the focus in episode 3. Besides Murder on the Space Coast, Unconcluded is the only other podcast centralized in my home state.

That’s something I really appreciate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unconcluded: The mysterious disappearance of Jennifer Kesse

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts, True Crime

I might be hooked with Unconcluded.

Unconcluded, the podcast which premiered today about the disappearance of a financial analyst, Jennifer Kesse. Those are the narrator’s words in verbatim.

I caught wind of Unconcluded leading more than a week ago. Jennifer’s case was one that fitted for potential podcast material in my mind. I wondered about compiling my own material but alas more fitting creators came around. As you listen to Episode 1, “Past, Present, Future,” you’ll understand Shaun’s narrative point of view on how and why he first encountered Jennifer’s story.

Shaun’s exact words echoed mine before I even heard the first show.

Proximity.

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Jennifer Kesse

I already became interested with the upcoming release of Unconcluded since Jennifer’s case centers in Orlando, Florida. I’m exclusively from South Florida –born and raised in Miami. While I’ve only visited Orlando once in my life, the overall vibe strikes almost the same if you drive down I-95 to Broward and Dade County. I’m a Florida native just like the creators, so I found it confounding that the word proximity popped up in our brains first thing.

I too hadn’t heard of Jennifer’s disappearance until 2015, nine years after she left without a trace. The simple fact that Shaun and Scott were longtime in the dark is astonishing as nearby natives. Beforehand I thought this was case was major news in Central Florida. I for sure didn’t hear or see anything on television further down south.

While only one episode premiered, I haven’t listened as intently to something like this since Missing Maura Murray. Again it’s proximity and the details about this puzzling case that had me all ears. When a show covers an investigation that happened essentially in your neck of the woods, you will want to know what’s up.

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Unconcluded the podcast

Last night I mentioned that this show seems like it’ll be special. I believe so. I hope so.

While people will probably associate Missing White Women Syndrome with Kesse’s case, I for certain wasn’t in the know for nearly a decade. How does a motivated and astute woman disappear? These are the answers the Kesse family are desperate to discover.

I’ve seen the Disappeared episode. I’ve run into Reddit and Facebook posts covering Jenn’s story. While you’re trying to uncover the utmost info, all you can do is click exist on the tab at the end of the day. I believe whole hardheartedly Jennifer was abducted. She didn’t possess a high victimology profile of living a risky lifestyle. The motivation to hunt Jenn most likely involved rape and/or robbery.

I’ve run through my head that CCTV tape, the unremarkable yet creepy figure walking away from Jenn’s Chevy Malibu, and the interim between her clocking out and being reported missing to the Orlando Police Department.

There’s just so many questions.

When the cold case officially turned 10, I reached Jenn’s age (24) when she disappeared. Being in someone’s shoes like that must be really surreal. What made her the target?

We’ll come to know when Unconcluded continues two weeks from today. I believe the podcast community will embrace this series since this case floats commonly in the TC bubble. I think her investigation deserves this kind of spotlight. Good things should come about.

Episode 1 was very well produced. The narrative is appropriately paced. The delivery was just right. I have a feeling these guys will accomplish with storytelling.

Unconcluded can be heard on Itunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and the podcast’s website.