Jessica Keen, an honor student and cheerleader from Weinland Park, Ohio, was fifteen years old. She began dating Shawn Thompson, an 18-year-old high school dropout, and her behavior changed. Rebecca, her mother, forbade her from seeing him. She began to rebel, giving up cheerleading and beginning to miss class in order to do so. On March 4, 1991, Rebecca decided to put Jessica in a group home for troubled teenagers called the “Huckleberry House” after finding out about it. On March 15, she got into a phone argument with Shawn and left the house to go to the mall. Investigators think she was taken from the bus stop, where she was last seen alive at around 6 o’clock in the evening.
Twenty miles from her home, close to the Foster Chapel Cemetery fence, Jessica was discovered raped and bludgeoned to death after going missing for two days. Police suspect that she was raped, held captive for at least six hours, and coerced into a car by one or two men. On March 16, sometime during the night, she managed to get away from her assailants and run in the direction of the cemetery.
One of Jessica’s socks and her knee print were discovered near several graves, providing evidence that she had hidden there. She noticed a light coming from a farmhouse as she was running through the cemetery. In the pitch black, she ran toward it and crashed into a fence post. Her assailants were able to catch up with her as a result. Her gold pendant with the word “Taken” was taken after they had raped her and kil*led her by bashing a grave against her head.
The police looked into the case and after eliminating Shawn as a suspect, they ran out of leads. In order to honor Jessica and keep her memory alive, her family has since erected a cross at the cemetery fence post where she crashed into it.
Shawn was initially the target of the police’s attention, but DNA evidence exonerated him in this case because he and several friends had already left for Florida at the time of Jessica’s mur*der. There were no additional suspects found in it.
Jessica was at ease enough to get in the car with them, so the ki*ller must have been someone she knew, according to the investigators.
Solved. Marvin Lee Smith was apprehended for Jessica’s kidnapping, rape, and mu*rder in April 2008 after his DNA was found to match evidence found on her body, which was recovered seventeen years after Jessica was ki*lled. She was ki*lled while he was on bail after being accused of assaulting two women in Columbus. In the end, he was found guilty of the two attacks on Columbus and sentenced to nine years in prison. He had to submit his DNA because he was a felon, which resulted in the match.
Smith later confessed to kil*ling Jessica, and the details of his confession coincided with those found at the scene of the crime. Additionally, he affirmed that only he was accountable. Unsettlingly, he admitted that he had hit her over the head with a tombstone weighing seventy pounds. It split in two as a result of the force of the blow. He entered a plea of guilty to aggravated murder, kidnapping, and rape in February 2009 and was given a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2038.