20th anniversary of the disappearance of Tiffany Sessions

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Twenty years ago, University of Florida junior, Tiffany Sessions, disappeared from her townhouse complex in Gainesville, Florida. What happened to her remains a mystery today.

The photo to the left shows Ms Sessions on the left as she appeared in 1989 with the photo on the right age progressed to how she would've appeared last year.

Please accept my apologies in advance for those put off by yet another bit of disproportionate public attention given to the fate of a pretty blonde young woman gone missing. While a graduate student, I lived for two years in the same complex as Tiffany up until five weeks before she disappeared. Along with a few dozen other UF students, we shared the same running route that bordered the pasture of the university's agricultural institute, out to Williston Rd., and then near the I-75 interchange. Some thought that she was abducted somewhere along her run, particularly with the proximity to this major north-south interstate, but others say she was last seen talking with someone in a car in the complex parking lot.

Her mother, Hilary Sessions, ha[s] viewed more than 170 dead bodies in the 240 months (and unfortunately, still counting) since she disappeared. [source]

Her father, Patrick Sessions, last week launched a website and blog dedicated to collecting news stories and clues about the missing woman, who would now be 40 years old. This morning at 10 a.m. EST, the Alachua Country Sheriff's Office was to have held a news conference potentially releasing information on a new lead in the case.

When this blogger thinks of all he has done over the last 20 years, including becoming the father of a priceless daughter, he feels a tremendous sense of loss for Tiffany's family - for what Tiffany was to them and what she would have become. Several other UF families have experienced the loss of their children but none have had to live with two decades of uncertainty.

We still remember. And we wish for Tiffany's family closure and much peace.

From Patrick Sessions:

"I'm hoping that you all will think about this and if you were in the Gainesville area or have any information about what happened to Tiffany, or if any of your friend's do, to please go to the links on the site and let the appropriate people know," Sessions said. "I really need your help and I really appreciate if you could pass this on. We can use social media to help solve this case and bring hope to many parents with missing children."

Deputies are asking anyone with information about this incident or any other missing persons orhomicide case to call Detective Bob Dean at the Alachua County Sheriff's Office at (352) 367-4161. Callers can also remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest by calling Crime Stoppers at 372-STOP (7867). For those that prefer the internet, anonymous tips may be left on the web site at http://www.alachuasheriff.org.

OFFICE (352) 367-4050 - FAX (352) 374-1816

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I don't think anyone will give you a hard time for this. But since you brought it up....

In November 2001 a neighbor of mine went missing. This was very close in time to one of these missing blond girl news fiascos in I think California. The blond CA girl was all over the national news in a big way as I recall. My neighbor, an African American 12 year old kid, was on the local news for a day or two. And that was it.

Thankfully, she was found alive and rescued the following January. She had been kidnapped by a 'stranger' (i.e., this was not a custody thing) who was a neighbor in the same apartment building, who also went missing at the same time. Somehow this clue did not work for the police at the time.

In 2002, another neighbor, again a young African American girl, was sitting at a table in her family's apartment two blocks northwest of my house. A gang-related shooting occurred nearby, and a stray bullet penetrated the house and killed Tyesha. Locally, Tyesha is a kind of hero, and much has been done and much has been made of this, but you know what would have happened if she was a blond girl from California. We'd have "Tyesha's law" or something.

None of this matters to the importance of remembering Tiffany, and I do not mean to take away from that at all. I wish her family peace.

Yes there is an uproar when media attaches significance to one disappearance rather than another. But they do not evaluate them even with all the publicity.

There is an ongoing problem of disappearing college students. Brian Shaffer, Maura Murray, Michael Negrete, and Justin Gains are examples. These disappearances have been noted for more than a hundred years beginning in 1880's France.

Abduction, murder, and accidents are top news. But occasionally one of them returns in an altered mental state, Ahmad Arain, Matthew Wilson, and Hannah Upp did that. None of the media has thought that they may all be connected by a simple problem of physiology capable of causing mental breaks for knowledge workers. Grad students qualify for this problem.

There is little in the story that points to abduction. She might be still alive. If this is true she could be in a mental institution or among homeless. There have been missing students and adults found in those places recently.