Tiffany Louise Sessions

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7 8 AP
Top Two Rows and Bottom Left and Center: Tiffany, circa 1989;
Bottom Right: Age-progression at age 44 (circa 2012)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: February 9, 1989 from Gainesville, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: October 29, 1968
  • Age: 20 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'3, 125 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, brown eyes. Tiffany's lower front tooth is chipped. She has a crescent-shaped scar on her left knuckle. Her family nickname is Tiffy.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: Red sweatpants, a long-sleeved white pullover sweatshirt with gray horizontal stripes and the word "Aspen" stitched in green lettering on the lower front of the collar, blue or white low-cut Reebok sneakers and a two-tone ladies' silver and gold Rolex watch with a blue-tinted face and the serial number R-6009006.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Tiffany was a junior at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1989; she majored in finance. She resided in the 2600 block of southwest 35th Place in Casablanca East Condominiums. Tiffany told her roommate she was going to take a walk along Williston Road at approximately 6:00 p.m. on February 9, 1989. Witnesses saw a woman matching Tiffany's description speaking to several unidentified individuals in a vehicle shortly afterwards. The woman may have entered the car, but the witnesses were uncertain. Authorities have never confirmed if the person was Tiffany. She has never been heard from again. Tiffany was carrying a black Sony Walkman radio at the time of her disappearance. She left her wallet, keys and identification inside her residence.

    Michael Christopher Knickbocker was considered a possible suspect in Tiffany's case for many years. He was sentenced to five terms of life in prison in 1990 for the 1989 rape of a 20-year-old Gainesville college student. He had a prior record for sex offenses and other crimes. In 2005, he pleaded no contest to first-degree murder in the 1989 shooting death of a twelve-year-old Starke, Florida girl. He was given an additional life sentence for the crime and will be 74 years old by the time he becomes eligible for parole. A photo of Knickerbocker is posted below this case summary. He allegedly told other inmates that he chained Tiffany to a tree near Gainesville on the night of her disappearance. Knickbocker claimed that he murdered her shortly afterwards and disposed of her remains in the Calosahatchee River near Fort Myers, Florida. Investigators searched the area after receiving the information from an informant, but no evidence was found at the scene. Authorities stated that materials connected to Tiffany's disappearance may have been lost in the surf as a result of the time lapse. It may be worth noting that Knickerbocker lived near the victim he killed and near the scene of his prior rape, but he wasn't living in Gainesville when Tiffany disappeared.

    Knickbocker also mentioned that Tiffany's sweatshirt was buried outside of Gainesville. Investigators searched the specified location in August 2002 and recovered a piece of blood-soaked material. Authorities tested the material to determine if Tiffany's DNA was on the item. The results have not been publicly announced. Several media outlets reported that the material did not appear to originate from a sweatshirt.

    In 1994, a missing children's hotline received a bizarre anonymous call about Tiffany's case. The caller stated that he or she had seen Tiffany together with Tracy Kroh and Elizabeth Miller and that the three young women were being held against their will in Austin, Texas and forced to work as prostitutes. Tracy disappeared from Pennsylvania in 1989, and Elizabeth from Colorado in 1983, and no one had suggested the cases were related. The tipster claimed the three women were being held by a man named Thomas Stewart and traveling in a white van with Florida license plates and a blue/gray van with unknown license plates. Police from all three states investigated the tip but decided it was probably a hoax.

    Tiffany's mother hired Florida-based psychic John Monti after her daughter disappeared. She said that he demanded money in return for his services and never produced any evidence related to Tiffany's case. Monti denied her allegations and professed surprise that she was not pleased with his assistance. He claimed that he gave authorities the name of a prison inmate who was enrolled in a work-release program near the Gainesville campus in 1989. Monti said that he believed the individual was involved in Tiffany's disappearance. He also claimed that he recommended investigators search remote areas of the campus for evidence. Monti also assisted Kelli Cox's mother search for her daughter, who disappeared from Texas in 1997.

    In February 2014, nearly 25 years after Tiffany's disappearance, a suspect was named in her kidnapping and presumed murder: Paul Rowles. A photo of Rowles is posted below this case summary. He had been sentenced to life in prison for a 1976 murder in Miami-Dade County, Florida, but was released from prison in 1985. In 1994, he was sentenced on multiple nineteen counts including sexual battery, attempted sexual battery, kidnapping and lewd and lascivious molestion. (His victim in that case, a nineteen-year-old Clearwater, Florida woman, managed to escape.) He died of natural causes in 2013 at the age of 64, still in prison.

    Investigators believe Rowles was a serial killer and Tiffany was his second victim. They're searching for her body near the site where his other known murder victim was buried. Shortly after his death, DNA linked him to the unsolved murder of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found in a shallow grave only about a mile from where Tiffany disappeared. He is known to have delivered scaffolding to a construction project along Tiffany's jogging path. Authorities also found a day planner Rowles kept in prison which, while it did not mention Tiffany's name, did have the number 2 written next to the date of her disappearance.

    The Rolex company has "flagged" Tiffany's watch, so they will be notified if anyone tries to sell or pawn it. The watch can be identified by its unique serial number. Tiffany's case remains unsolved. There have not been any arrests in connection to her disappearance.

    Knickerbocker Rowles
    Left: Michael Knickerbocker;
    Right: Paul Rowles

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Alachua County Sheriff's Office
    352-367-4161

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    Source Information
    The National Center for Missing Adults
    Child Protection Of America
    The Gainesville Sun
    WSVN TV-7
    The Independent Florida Alligator
    The Doe Network
    The Dallas Observer
    NewsLibrary
    The St. Petersburg Times
    TiffanySessions.com
    Fox 13 Tampa Bay
    Unsolved in the News
    The Ocala Star-Banner
    Florida Department of Corrections
    News4Jax
    Fox News
    WVZN-HD ABC 7

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    Updated 12 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated February 7, 2014; details of disappearance updated.

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