Friday, September 19, 2008

ARTICLE #29) FBI joins search for missing woman: Mother relieved U.S. officials have not given up on daughter

Saturday, August 12, 2006 FBI joins search for missing woman: Mother relieved U.S. officials have not given up on daughter
The Kamloops Daily News by Melissa Lampman (Intern Reporter)

The FBI are joining the search for a Kamloops woman who went missing more than five months ago.

That comes as a relief to her family, especially her mother, who has been off work since the 22-year-old disappeared. Glendene Grant has not given up hope that daughter Jessica (or Jessie) Foster will be found alive.

Sitting in her kitchen Friday, Grant was overcome with emotion. “We just want her home,” she said, crying.

Although the FBI may decide there’s not enough evidence to pursue the case vigorously, just getting them involved is a huge boost to Grant and her family.

“We’re just happy the FBI even opened a file,” Grant said. “That means they didn’t brush us off – and we’ve got lots of information to give them.”

Grant’s case was referred to agent Robert Guerra of the Las Vegas Chapter of the FBI. She spoke with him Aug. 8, but he said it could take up to two weeks to get the file open and get it assigned to a detective.

It’s been frustrating and difficult over these past five months waiting for someone to pick up the case, Grant said.

“It makes me feel like they all think she’s dead ad since she’s dead, it doesn’t matter, she can wait, but I don’t think she’s dead and every day that she’s there, she’s suffering in some way,” she said.

However, Grant said she’s grateful for the help and support from Kamloops RCMP Const. Mike Scherpenisse.

“He’s done everything he can. He’s tried to contact American Express (to trace Jessie’s credit-card usage) on his day off, called me after his shifts…His help has meant so much after so much hassle,” she said.

Although Grant and her family have gone through so much, they are still very optimistic and believe the FBI is the source they have been waiting for.

“It’s just a matter of time – I think it and I hope it,” Grant said.

“Once the file has been assigned to a FBI detective, to me, that’s going to prove everything we’ve always been thinking – something’s funny, something’s not right about Jessie’s disappearance.”

Along with the FBI, Grant has connected with Det. Mike Hope from Crime Stoppers in the U.S., who will start featuring Jessie, getting her name and picture to the public along with posting a $5,000 reward.

“Somebody needs to look at this whole picture,” she said. “Just take a little bit of a look, because sometimes that little look will really show a lot.

“Is it going to take some 48-year-old mother sitting in her kitchen and bedroom with 20 binders to crack the case that (no one else) will take a look at?” she asked. “I’m doing more investigating than the investigators.”

Jessie was last heard from by her older sister on the night of March 28. She went to Las Vegas a year prior to her disappearance for a vacation, extended her trip and eventually decided to move there.

Grant believes Jessie is being held against her will and has been forced into a life of prostitution.

“Jessie left her cosmetics and her hair dryer – she wouldn’t just leave those things if she went willingly,” Grant said.

Before her disappearance, at least one of the seven family members received a text message, e-mail or phone call from her on a daily basis, she said.

The last person to see Jessie was Peter Todd, the boyfriend she lived with in North Las Vegas. According to Grant, the two had a rocky relationship, consisting of fights and yelling.

Todd, a pimp separated from his wife, a prostitute, had a lot of money, fast cars and all-night parties – things that lured Jessie into the lifestyle, said Grant.

The family is accepting donations and collecting bottles to help pay for the investigators and hope to raise the reward money.

There will be a yard sale, including this weekend, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday for the rest of the summer at 834 Dominion St.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the Jessie Foster Fund can make a donation at any CIBC branch, transit #00050 and account #98-27412.

For more information, call Glendene Grant at 374-6137.

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