Renee Converse can still picture her 12-year-old daughter, slim and sun-kissed, waving goodbye out the back window of a Pasco County school bus. It was a Friday and the last time she would see her brown-eyed, firstborn girl.
A quarter-century after the murder of Jennifer Odom, her mother remembers how much she loved her Springer spaniel, Gypsy, and how she giggled with a gang of girlfriends while dressing up for a middle school dance.
Six days after she disappeared in 1993, detectives located Jennifer’s body — naked, facedown and severely decomposed in a Hernando County orange grove. Since then, they have amassed nearly 1,000 pieces of evidence, taken thousands of tips, done hundreds of interviews and clocked tens of thousands of hours building a case file 75,000 pages thick. They’ve questioned nearly 100 people of interest. As late as 2013, Hernando County assigned a deputy full-time to Jennifer’s case.