Hernando County, Florida -- On the 20th anniversary of Jennifer Odom's death, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis has announced a concerted effort to solve the mystery surrounding her murder.
Jennifer was abducted on Feb. 19, 1993 from Pasco County while walking home from her bus stop. Authorities said an older blue full-size pickup truck was reported seen in the area at the time of her disappearance.
Jennifer's body was found six days later in an orange grove in Hernando County. Two years later, on Jan. 25, her missing clarinet case and school bag were found in a rural area in Hernando County. Since then, the person, or persons, involved in Jennifer's disappearance and murder remains a mystery.
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Sheriff Al Nienhuis said Tuesday his administration is putting additional and exclusive resources into investigating her murder and the undertaking will be no small task.
Jennifer's file consists of dozens of very large binders, hundreds of pages of electronic investigative reports, and hundreds and hundreds of pieces of evidence, the Sheriff said. There are also over 1,000 people including law enforcement officers, potential witnesses and suspects.
As detectives take another in-depth look at Jennifer's case, Sheriff Nienhuis stressed no more specifics about the case will be revealed in order to avoid false leads or confessions from those trying to "inject themselves into the case".
We also have to be considerate of the family," Sheriff Nienhuis added. "They have endured 20 years of agony and, although we desperately want to solve this case, we also want to be mindful of the wounds this crime has caused. It is for this reason that, although this is the twentieth anniversary of this terrible crime, we are staying focused on the case itself."
Sheriff Nienhuis estimates the review will take at least a year for his administration to review all the evidence, reports, interviews and then, based on that review, pursue possible leads or evidence testing.
The sheriff's office will use federal forfeiture funds to dedicate additional manpower to the investigation. Detective John Ellis has been assigned as the Major Case Detective for this endeavor for the next year and will be following up on existing leads and generate new leads.