tiffany_louise_sessions_2.jpg

Tiffany was a junior at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1989; she majored in finance. She resided in the 2600 block of southwest 35th Place in Casablanca East Condominiums. Tiffany told her roommate she was going to take a walk along Williston Road at approximately 6:00 p.m. on February 9, 1989.

Witnesses saw a woman matching Tiffany's description speaking to several unidentified individuals in a vehicle shortly afterwards. The woman may have entered the car, but the witnesses were uncertain. Authorities have never confirmed if the person was Tiffany. She has never been heard from again. She left her wallet, keys and identification inside her residence.

Michael Christopher Knickbocker was considered a possible suspect in Tiffany's case for many years. He was sentenced to five terms of life in prison in 1990 for the 1989 rape of a 20-year-old Gainesville college student. He had a prior record for sex offenses and other crimes

In 2005, he pleaded no contest to first-degree murder in the 1989 shooting death of a twelve-year-old Starke, Florida girl. He was given an additional life sentence for the crime and will be 74 years old by the time he becomes eligible for parole.

NamUs The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)

Media - TIFFANY SESSIONS has been #missing from Gainesville, Florida since 9 February 1989 after telling roommates she was going on a power walk.
 
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kdg411

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Twenty-five years of frustration, dead ends and pure heartbreak in the search for missing University of Florida student Tiffany Sessions are at an end, her father declared Wednesday as he announced that police believe she was murdered by a serial killer who died last year in a Miami-Dade prison.

“To me, the case is solved,” Patrick Sessions said by telephone as he watched earth-moving equipment dig up a swampy, wooded field on the south side of Gainesville in search of his daughter’s remains. “I’m convinced this is the guy who did it.”

The guy is Paul Eugene Rowles, who died of cancer last year in the prison hospital at the South Florida Reception Center.

Rowles, convicted of the murder of another young woman, died just as police were about to charge him with a second homicide, and was serving time for the abduction and sexual assualt of a third one who escaped.

Before his death, Rowles denied any connection to the 1989 disappearance and presumed murder of Tiffany Sessions.

But he left behind an address book containing notes about the victims of the other three crimes — and what police and Tiffany’s father believe is a coded reference to Tiffany’s disappearance. Rowles lived in the Gainesville area at the time she vanished, and worked delivering scaffolding to a construction site along the route she regularly walked for exercise — a walk from which she vanished on Feb. 9, 1989.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

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Tampa Bay Missing Women Cases Grow Cold As Families Seek Closure​

One Mother's Determination Changes Laws

Another case that received national attention was the disappearance of 20-year-old Valrico resident Tiffany Sessions who went missing on Feb. 9, 1989, while at college at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Between 4 and 5 p.m. on the day Sessions disappeared, she told her roommate she was going out for a power walk. Wearing a Sony Walkman, she left her apartment with her wallet, identification and keys.

When she hadn't returned after five hours, Sessions' roommate alerted Sessions' mother, Hilary, in Valrico.

After the Alachua County Sheriff's Office initially failed to launch a search for Tiffany Sessions, maintaining there was no evidence of a crime, the grieving mother became a driving force behind the adoption of new missing person protocols by Florida law enforcement agencies.

The publicity she generated on her daughter's behalf, including national television and newspaper interviews, a $25,000 reward and the distribution of more than five million flyers around the country, resulted in the largest FBI search in Florida history. Law enforcement followed up on more than 3,000 leads in the case.

On Florida Missing Persons Day Oct. 27, 2008, then-Gov. Charlie Crist signed the Jennifer Kesse and Tiffany Sessions Missing Persons Act that expanded the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Missing Children Information Clearinghouse into the Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse.

The law also requires law enforcement agencies to enter a missing person into the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) within two hours after a person is determined to be missing.

Additionally, if a person has been missing for more than 90 days, the act requires Florida law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples from the belongings of the missing person or biological relatives.

In 2014, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office identified deceased serial killer Paul Eugene Rowles, as the primary suspect in Tiffany Sessions' disappearance.

Rowles, who died in prison in 2013 after being convicted of murder, rape and kidnapping, lived in the Gainesville area at the time Sessions disappeared.

Danny Rolling, known as the Gainesville Ripper, was also considered a suspect. Rolling was convicted in the murders of five Gainesville students in August 1990, the year before Tiffany Sessions disappeared. He was executed by lethal injection Oct. 25, 2006.

However, there was never conclusive evidence in either case and Tiffany Sessions' body was never found.

Hilary Sessions went on to help form the Surviving Parents Coalition with other grieving parents around the country including John Walsh, whose 7-year-old son, Adam, was abducted from a Sears department store at the Hollywood Mall in Florida on July 27, 1981. His severed head was found two weeks later in a drainage canal alongside State Road 60 at Yeehaw Junction in Indian River County, Florida.

Another coalition member who's become a national advocate for missing children is Mark Lunsford. His 9-year-old daughter, Jessica, was abducted from their home in Homosassa, Florida, Feb. 24, 2005, by convicted sex offender John Couey. Couey held her captive over the weekend, repeatedly raping her and then burying her alive.

Today, Sessions is active with radKids, a safety education program to help children defend themselves against abductions.

"Every day I make it my mission to do something for Tiff's case specifically, to help another family with a call, assistance, a contact or encouragement or take part in an educational speaking engagement, a fingerprinting event or promoting the radKIDS Program," Hilary Sessions said.

She still occupies the same house Valrico where she lived when her only child when Tiffany Sessions disappeared 32 years ago.

"Because Tiff would only know to come back to my house; I have not moved since before she disappeared," Hilary Sessions said. "I do not plan on moving until the case is solved and I know what happened to her. I choose to live with the hope of a live return because I cannot imagine the other."
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Without A Trace: Missing Florida College Student, Tiffany Louise Sessions, 33 Years Later​

Tiffany Louise Sessions, 20, was a college student at The University Of Florida, who went missing on February 9, 1989. Thirty-Three years ago today.

If you have any information on this case or any other cold case please contact Detective Kevin Allen at (352) 384-3323. You can also remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward by contacting Alachua County Crime Stoppers Inc 352-372-STOP(7867) or download the Crime Stoppers P3 Tips app.
 

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