Much like the case of Julie Love (which I wrote about here), the disappearance of Tiffany Sessions is etched in my mind as an indelible memory from the 1980s, helped in part by the fact that Tiffany Sessions and I were the same age and both college students at the time.
Tiffany disappeared from Gainesville, Florida, the same town that would be rocked by serial killer Danny Rolling a year and a half after her disappearance. The Gainesville Ripper’s (as Rolling was dubbed by the overzealous media) crimes and capture would take much of the national news away from Tiffany.
Tiffany was a student at the University of Florida, a junior majoring in finance. A serious student with a 3.5 GPA, she was twenty years old that February of 1989 and a pretty girl with blonde hair and brown eyes. Known for her quick smile, she was considered warm and friendly, always willing to help. She had begun a new exercise routine after Christmas break, around the beginning of her second semester, and typically took a power walk daily around five o’clock. She left her residence at the Casablanca East Condominiums shortly before five, telling her roommate she was going to take her normal walk. She was dressed in red sweatpants, a long sleeved white pullover sweatshirt with gray stripes, and Reeboks and carrying a black Walkman. The only other item Tiffany had with her was her ladies silver and gold Rolex watch. Her wallet, identification and keys were left in her home.
Several hours passed and Tiffany did not return to her apartment. Her roommate drove Tiffany’s usual route, hoping to spot her. When that proved fruitless, she phoned Tiffany’s mother, whom Tiffany normally phoned daily. Tiffany and her mother were close, as her parents had divorced when she was less than a year old. As her only child, Tiffany’s mother wanted her to be as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. Not especially close to her father growing up, the two grew closer as Tiffany reached her teen years. A real estate developer who counted many athletes and politicians among his clients and friends, he inspired Tiffany to want to run her own company one day.
It was her mother who first notified authorities. The police initially were hesitant to consider that a crime occurred; Tiffany had not been missing for long and there was no crime…