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Jessica was sleeping in a bedroom with her two sisters in her family's Lexington, South Carolina mobile home during the evening hours of June 5, 1986. Unknown intruder(s) entered into the house sometime between 11:30 p.m. that evening and 9:00 a.m. on June 6, the following morning. The intruder(s) apparently broke in through the living room window and removed the screen and curtains. The abductor(s) then removed Jessica from the bedroom and left the residence through the front door.
Jessica's family discovered the crime scene and her disappearance on the morning of June 6; her six-year-old sister, Rebecca, stated she had been taken by "a man with a magic hat." She has never been heard from again. Rebecca, now an adult, remembers seeing a man lift Jessica out of the bed and carry her away. She stated the man was able to do this without waking Jessica. Rebecca had been too frightened by what she saw to tell anyone until the next morning, when Jessica was discovered missing.
Jessica's mother believes a family friend may have kidnapped the child. Her mother found fibers in an abandoned car that she says were linked to her daughter. The vehicle belonged to a 27-year-old friend of the family, who has served time in a North Carolina prison for rape. In 1987, the man told a cellmate that he had kidnapped a girl in Lexington County and would confess if given immunity for the crime. Immunity was denied and the man did not speak any further on the subject. However, his fingerprint was found in Jessica's bedroom. Investigators have not publicly identified the man or charged him with any wrongdoing in connection with Jessica's abduction due to lack of evidence, but he is considered the prime suspect in her disappearance.
Jessica's case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd. Foul play is suspected.
Lexington County Sheriff's Office