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What Happened To Jennifer Casper Ross? New Details On The Unsolved Case Of The Mom Missing From Reno For 14 Years

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What Happened To Jennifer Casper Ross? New Details On The Unsolved Case Of The Mom Missing From Reno For 14 Years

Jennifer Casper Ross disappeared from the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada in the very early morning of May 5, 2005. Staff and guests at the hotel bar told authorities that Jennifer was drunk when she arrived. Sometime around 5:30 am, Jennifer took a cab from the Peppermill to the Reno-Sparks Cab Company where her mother Carla worked. Carla wasn't at work. When Jennifer realized she left the building, jumped over a fence behind the building and ran off. She was one mile from her house. She never made it home. That was 14 years ago. What happened to Jennifer Casper Ross?

1. She was a ballerina

Jennifer's mother Carla Brown describes her daughter as driven. "Jennifer loved a challenge and she was very determined," she told Dateline. At 15, she was a talented ballerina performing in local events in her hometown of Pocatello, Idaho. By 19, she was a dancer for Gregory Thompson Productions, a dance troupe that performed at Harrah's Reno Casino and Hotel in Reno, Nevada. In March 1999, then 24-year-old Jennifer married Sean Ross. Four years later, their son Isaac Michael was born. 

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2. Things started to unravel

In 2005, at 30, Jennifer's life started to unravel. She broke her tailbone during a dance rehearsal. That led to losing her job at Harrah's. The financial stress weighed on her. She was raising a young child. She started teaching ballet classes. She struggled with her mental health and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her mom said that she felt like Jennifer was desperate to escape the pressure. In addition to the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Jennifer was also suffering from postpartum depression. She began using drugs and alcohol. Her marriage began to crumble. The fighting hit a climax on the night of May 4, 2005, and Jennifer walked out. Sometime after 11:00 pm, Jennifer left her home and went to a bar a mile away. Her husband told police that he had asked Jennifer not to leave since it was already late. She headed alone to the Peppermill Hotel and Casino. 

3. They found her shoes

When Jennifer disappeared from the Reno-Sparks Cab Company, police quickly launched an investigation. "Cadaver dogs were able to trace her scent from behind the building and back to the road, but then they lost her," Reno Police Detective Ben Rhodes said. An employee for the cab company found her broken high heels on the company property. Detective Rhodes said: “She’s barefoot, jumping a fence, she walks west and comes back out into the street. My issue is that she’s barefoot in the middle of the night and intoxicated, more than likely. Someone could have picked her up. She was a mile from her house.” 

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4. Did she commit suicide?

During the early stages of the investigation, Jennifer's husband Sean found two bloody notes in the home. According to the Reno Police, the notes said  Jennifer hoped Sean would care for their son if anything ever happened to her. DNA and handwriting analysis were performed on the notes and confirmed Jennifer wrote the notes and they were covered in her own blood. Detective Rhodes said it's unclear when the notes were written. He said: "No idea if Jennifer was forced or coerced into writing them." Detective Rhodes told Dateline that it wasn't clear whether or not Jennifer committed suicide. “If she committed suicide, her body would most likely have been found. Her last known location was at the cab company and she was barefoot. Since she was barefoot, it is unlikely she would have walked somewhere remote to commit suicide to where her body never would have been found.” 

5. Her husband is a suspect

At first, Sean Ross cooperated with the investigation into his wife's disappearance. When he failed the polygraph test he did not return to the police for a second interview. Carla Brown, Jennifer's mother, told Dateline that three months after Jennifer disappeared Sean filed for divorce. He moved to San Diego and is raising their son. Authorities consider Sean and at least one other person to be suspects into the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Jennifer Casper Ross. 

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6. Her mother's crusade

Carla Brown said Jennifer loved her son and she never would have abandoned her child. “I believe she jumped over that fence and fell victim to a crime of passion,” Carla said. “It’s a living nightmare. It took me years to humanize my daughter to the city of Reno. I just want people to remember Jennifer as an energetic spirit — dancing. As someone who loved animals. As a wonderful mother.” 

Today, Jennifer Casper Ross would be 44. When she disappeared she had brown hair, brown eyes was 5'9" and weighed 130lbs.

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long-distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.