Tiffany Louise Sessions was born on the 29th October, 1968 to Patrick and Hillary Sessions. She was born in Tampa, Florida.
In 1989, Tiffany was attending college at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and was majoring in business.
On the night of February, 9th 1989, Tiffany decided to go for a power-walk. Between 4:00pm and 5:00pm that evening, Tiffany left her apartment on 35th Place, Casablanca East Apartments in Gainesville. She was wearing a white pullover sweatshirt with long sleeves and grey horizontal striping with “Aspen” printed on the front of the shirt’s collar. She was also wearing red sweatpants and tennis shoes. At the time, Tiffany did not have her wallet, identification or keys with her, but she was wearing her two-tone silver and gold women’s Rolex wrist watch and her black Sony Walkman. Tiffany was 20 years old at the time of her disappearance.
After Tiffany had not returned home after 5 hours, her room-mate called Tiffany’s mum. The police were contacted, but to start with they did not handle the disappearance as a crime due to the lack of a crime scene. There was no evidence that Tiffany had left the apartments parking lot, and there were no signs of a struggle.
At around 6pm that night, witnesses say they saw a girl matching Tiffany’s description talking to several people in a vehicle. The police have never been able to confirm if this was Tiffany, and witnesses are unsure if the woman entered the vehicle or not.
Michael Christopher Knickerbocker was considered a suspect in the disappearance. He was considered as he allegedly told inmates in 1990 that he had murdered Tiffany, and that he had chained her to a tree and then discarded her body close to Fort Myers in the Caloosahatchee River. Police searched the area but they found no evidence of Tiffany, but they said that due to the time, Tiffany’s materials may have been lost in the search. Knickerbocker also told authorities that Tiffany’s sweatshirt was buried outside of Gainesville, and police did search the specific location in 2002 and found a piece of blood-soaked material. The blood was tested to see if it matched Tiffany, but the results have never been made public.
Knickerbocker was sentenced to five life sentences in 1990 for the 1989 rape of a 20-year old Gainesville college student, he also had priors for other sexual crimes and offenses. In 2005, he pleaded no-contest to the first-degree murder charge relating to a 1989 shooting of a 12 year old girl in Strake, Florida.
Whilst police are still interested in Knickerbocker, his involvement in Tiffany’s disappearance is questioned as he was not living in Gainesville at the time.
In 1994, a missing children’s hotline received a tip that Tiffany, along with two other missing girls Tracy Kroh (Tracy disappeared from Pennsylvania in 1989) and Elizabeth Miller (Elizabeth disappeared from Colorado in 1983), were being held against their will in Austin, Texas and being forced to work as prostitutes. The tipset claimed that a man named Thomas Stewart was responsible for this, and they were travelling in a blue/white van with unknown licence plates or a white van with Florida license plates. No-one had ever connected the three cases, and whilst investigators did follow up this tip, they put it down to being a hoax.
Tiffany’s mother asked for the help of Florida based psychic, John Monti, after Tiffany’s disappearance. However, her mother was unhappy with his assistance, as she claimed he wanted money for his services and never produced any evidence about Tiffany’s case. Monti denied these accusations, and said that he gave authorities the name of a prison inmate who was enrolled in a work-release programme near the Gainesville campus in 1989, saying that he believed that inmate was responsible for Tiffany’s disappearance. Monti also said that he recommended investigators should search the remote area of the college campus for clues.
Almost 25 years after Tiffany’s disappearance, in February 2014, police named a suspect in Tiffany’s kidnapping and presumed murder. Paul Rowles had been sentenced to life in prison for a 1976 murder, but he was released from prison in 1985. Investigators believe that Rowles was a serial killer, and that Tiffany had been his second victim. The police found a journal which Rowles kept in prison, and it had the note ‘#2 2/9/89 #2’ which investigators believe refers to the date of Tiffany’s disappearance. Rowles was also known to have delivered scaffolding along Tiffany’s jogging route close to the time that Tiffany went missing, and he had been missing from work on the day of her disappearance.
Paul Rowles died in prison in 2013 of natural causes. He was serving time due to multiple counts of sexual battery, attempted sexual battery, kidnapping, lewd and lascivious molestation. Shortly after his death, his DNA was linked to an unresolved murder of a 21-year old woman whose body was found less than a mile from where Tiffany went missing.
The Rolex watch that Tiffany was wearing has been flagged by Rolex, so they will be alerted if anyone tries to sell, or pawn, the watch.
As of 2021, Tiffany’s case remains unsolved. No-one has ever been arrested or charged with her murder or kidnapping, and no-one knows what ever happened to Tiffany.
True crime, unsolved, missing, USA