UPDATE: Investigators with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and family members of missing Tiffany Sessions are hoping the public can help finally solve the 25 year old cold case . At a morning press conference, new details were revealed about the man law enforcement authorities believe may be responsible for Tiffany’s disappearance when she went for a walk on the evening of February 9th, 1989 near her Casablanca East apartment on Southwest 35th Place in Gainesville.
Cold Case Detective for the Alachua County Sheriff’s office, Kevin Allen, says Paul Rowles is the primary suspect in the case. Rowles, a registered sex offender, was convicted of murdering Linda Fida, of Miami, in 1972. Though he was given a life sentence, he was paroled in 1985. Three years later he moved to Gainesville. While in Gainesville he delivered pizzas and delivered scaffolding to a construction site near the apartment where Sessions lived. Rowles ended up back in prison in 1999 for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a teenager from Clearwater. He died in prison last year.
Rowles is the same man tied through DNA evidence to Elizabeth Foster’s murder. Law enforcement authorities are now excavating a site near where 21 year old Elizabeth Foster‘s body was located after she disappeared in March of 1992. Foster’s body was found in a shallow grave on the east side of Highway 441, not far from what was then the Brown Derby restaurant, just south of Williston Road.
The most compelling evidence revealed this week is an address book found among Rowles’ prison possessions where he had made note of the date 2/9/89…the same day Tiffany disappeared. The #2 was written on both sides of the date. Cold Case Detective Allen believes the #2 refers to Tiffany as his second victim. Alachua County Sheriff, Sadie Darnell and other community leaders as well as family members of Tiffany Sessions say they hope through this excavation process they will finally find Tiffany’s body.
News of the development in the Tiffany Sessions case is making national headlines including this broadcast on CBS This Morning. (could take just a moment for video to load)
Patrick Sessions and Tiffany’s mom Hilary have never given up hope that their daughter’s body and possibly her killer would be found. Patrick has often offered his emotional support to other families of missing and murdered children through the years, despite the lack of closure in his own daughter’s case. In 2009 he offered such support to the family of Somer Thompson. The 7 year old little girl was kidnapped on the way home from school in Clay County. Her lifeless body was discovered a few days later in a Georgia landfill. Law enforcement authorities reported she had also been sexually assaulted and eventually charged Jarred Harrell with the crime. In 2012 Harrell received 6 life sentences.
In the months before the killer was identified, Patrick Sessions talked with Donna Green-Townsend about the Somer Thompson case and shared his thoughts about the positive changes in the way law enforcement now handles missing children cases. He pointed out during the interview how when his daughter Tiffany went missing there weren’t as many technological or social media tools available and how he had to personally purchase a fax machine for the Alachua County Sheriff’s office, make his own fliers and pay for tracking dogs to help search for his daughter. During this 2009 interview below Sessions also gave his personal insight about what parents today should say to their own children to stay safe. (from my audio archives)