Jennifer Kesse disappearance: New tip leads to search at Orange County lake

Drew Kesse says he's determined to bring daughter home

Deputies are searching a lake in Orange County after a tip in the Jennifer Kesse case.

GOTHA, Fla. – Dive crews with the Orange County Sheriff's Office have spent the past two days searching for clues in Jennifer Kesse's disappearance after a new tip came forward. 

"The Orange County Sheriff's Office is following up on a new tip, brought to law enforcement by the Kesse family investigator," a spokesperson with the Sheriff's Office told News 6.

Kesse vanished in Orlando in 2006 and since then, her family has fought to keep the search alive and to raise awareness on the case. 

An Orange County lake is being searched in connection with Jennifer Kesse's disappearance.

Crews have concentrated their efforts on the south side of Lake Fischer, next to the Braemar neighborhood. 

Aerial images show what the neighborhood looked like in 2006, when Kesse went missing. Images show the land had been cleared for development, but houses didn't go in until several years later. 

News 6 was at Lake Fischer Thursday as crews with the Sheriff's Office began their search, clearing out weeds, as Kesse's family, including her father Drew Kesse, watched on.

"Obviously it was a good enough tip that you see the actions of how many divers, I think we had eight divers at one time," Drew Kesse said.

He said the tip came from someone who saw the family's battle to get unredacted police records on the case.

[READ MORE: Police: Nothing found in search for Jennifer Kesse | Jennifer Kesse's parents discuss 10-year anniversary of disappearance]

"This (search) was seven months in the making," Drew Kesse said.

Regardless of what happens, Drew Kesse said he will continue to follow up on credible tips.

"We'll see how this works out and move from there. We keep going, we keep investigating," Drew Kesse said.

The 24-year-old went missing in January 2006 when she never showed up for work. As the search intensified, her car was found at a condo complex about a mile away from where she lived. 

Since then, her family and friends haven't given up the search. 

"Jennifer, we will find you, I will find you," Drew Kesse told News 6 in 2006. "I love you, we miss you and you will come home to us." 

Drew Kesse said the family will stop at nothing to bring his daughter home.

"We're going in many different directions and if they cultivate into something truly formative, we're going to act on them like we did today," he said.

Even now, posters for Jennifer Jesse are scattered all over Central Florida.

[RELATED: Jennifer Kesse case podcast going viral, sparking new interestJudge to review unredacted Jennifer Kesse investigation documents]

The search took place about 12 miles away from where she lived. It's still not clear what, if anything, was found connected to this case.

Drew Kesse asked for residents to give any information they might have to investigators.

"We ask the public please stick with us, please believe in us. Believe in Jennifer and if you know something and have called something in before that you think has not been worked, give us a call," her father said. 

He's also grateful for the tips investigators have received so far.

"I want to thank the public for what they have done and for what they continue to do for Jennifer and all the missing people they're concerned about. It's the public that solves missing persons cases. These gentlemen only follow up and put it down on paper and try to figure out what happened and bring someone to justice," Drew Kesse said.

A documentary about Kesse's disappearance is set to air on the Oxygen Channel in February 2020. 

If you have a tip, you're asked to call the Kesse family tip line at 941-201-4009.

About the Author:

It has been an absolute pleasure for Clay LePard living and working in Orlando since he joined News 6 in July 2017. Previously, Clay worked at WNEP TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he brought viewers along to witness everything from unprecedented access to the Tobyhanna Army Depot to an interview with convicted double-murderer Hugo Selenski.