Are there any clues?
So far, frustratingly few. Jessica’s tidy, toy-filled bedroom in the home where she had been living for the past year with her divorced father, Mark, 41, and her grandparents was virtually undisturbed, with no signs of a struggle. The only things known to be missing are the pink nightgown the third-grader wore to bed and a stuffed purple dolphin she often slept with. The door to the screened porch near Jessica’s room was slashed, but the sliding glass doors leading from the porch to the house were locked. The front door, however, was unlocked.
Is it possible she ran away?
“There’s no reason to think that,” says her cousin Joe Boles. “She was very happy, very close to her grandmother.” He continues, “Her family talked to her about safety at school and with strangers. She had just gotten a computer and had already had a safety course.” Says Citrus County sheriff Jeffrey Dawsy: “We do not believe that Jessica Lunsford walked out of that house under her own power.”
Are police hunting for her?
After March 5 police suspended efforts by search and rescue teams in order to channel their resources into following up on phone tips. Fourteen local police continue to work the case full-time. No Amber Alert has been issued because there is no suspect or description of a suspicious vehicle.
Have Jessica’s relatives been cleared?
Though the girl’s father and grandfather Archie, 72, have taken polygraph and voice stress tests that didn’t raise any “red flags,” according to Dawsy, “at this point we haven’t ruled anyone out of this investigation.” Both men have arrest records for assault but no convictions. “When Jessie does come back, I’m going to be the most overprotective father in the world,” says Mark. “I won’t let her out of my sight.”