Friday, September 19, 2008

ARTICLE #107) Possible Break in Case of Missing North Las Vegas Woman

Thursday, February 7, 2008
Possible Break in Case of Missing North Las Vegas Woman
Las Vegas Now: Channel 8 Eyewitness TV News by Alyson McCarthy, Reporter

A family's long search for answers may have finally ended. The burned remains of a body found in Texas may be a North Las Vegas woman who has been missing for almost two years.

It's a sad case, but the family of 21-year-old Jessie Foster may finally get some closure. The ordeal started when for some reason the straight-a student turned to prostitution. Lured by the lights and fast life of Las Vegas, she fell into the wrong crowd, became a high-priced escort and may have eventually fallen victim to a human trafficking ring.

The beautiful blue-eyed blonde disappeared in March of 2006, just months after moving from her family's home in Canada to North Las Vegas to be with her wealthy boyfriend, Peter Todd, the man police say was the last person to see her.

Retired New York policeman Frank Mahoney heads up the non-profit Nevada Center for Missing Loved Ones -- which assists local investigators in missing persons cases. He says the Nevada Attorney General's Office forwarded him the Foster case after it received information suggesting Foster fell victim to a human trafficking ring.

About the same time, the burned body of a woman surfaced in Kilgore, Texas. Using the skeletal remains, forensic artists reconstructed the face of the unidentified woman and aired it's likeness on America's Most Wanted just last month -- an episode Mahoney just happened to be watching at home.
"It blew my mind, just blew my mind. I jumped out of bed and e-mailed her mother right away," he said.

Jessie's mother, who keeps in regular contact with Mahoney, is hopeful the Jane Doe is not her missing daughter. But like Mahoney, agrees there are many similarities.

"The teeth match, the facial features match, the physical description matches -- 90-percent sure it is her," he said.

But North Las Vegas police caution that only a DNA comparison, which is still pending, will be able to determine whether the body in Texas is really Jessie Foster.

Until then, it remains an open missing person's case.

It's not what the mother wants, of course, but at least it gives closure to the family. Then the investigation really starts for police. Foster's boyfriend, Peter Todd, denies having any knowledge of her whereabouts.

Police say he was the last person to see her and was questioned twice by investigators but he is not a suspect.

Police say there is still no evidence that any crime has been committed. But if this unidentified body does turn out to be Jessie Foster, this missing persons case will most likely turn into a homicide investigation.

Email your comments to Reporter Alyson McCarthy

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