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Lexington deputies, SLED, FBI take new look at kidnapping case from 1986

Jessica Gutierrez, 4, was reported missing from her Lexington home 35 years ago.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — Lexington County Sheriff's deputies are getting help from the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division and the FBI as they continue their investigation into the disappearance of Jessica Gutierrez, who's been missing for 35 years.

On June 6, 1986, the four-year-old was reported missing from her home on South Lake Drive in Lexington.

Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon says Jessica's mother woke up to find her daughter missing from the child's bedroom. 

“A large area was searched on foot, on all-terrain vehicles and by air in the days after she disappeared," said Koon. "But no one has seen Jessie since.”

The sheriff said he asked members of the FBI's unit specializing in child abductions to help search for Gutierrez and to recanvas the area and re-interview neighbors who lived near her family at the time of the incident.

“Our goal is to help in the quest to find answers for the Gutierrez family,” said Susan Ferensic, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Columbia Field Office. “We want to provide an array of resources the FBI has to assist the Lexington County Sheriff's Department in solving this case.”

On the 35th anniversary of the kidnapping -- June 6, 2021 -- the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children produced an age-progressed missing person's flyer with an image of what Gutierrez might look like today in the hope that it might produce a new lead in the case.

Credit: NCMEC
Jessica Gutierrez age-progressed missing person's poster from June 6, 2021

Koon says that to solve this case, it will take help from the community.

“Even if you have been interviewed before or if you have never talked to law enforcement, now is the time to come forward if you have information that can help us. You might see our investigative teams over the next two weeks, please talk with them. Even if you ‘think’ what you know can’t help, let us decide if what you know is relevant. It might be the final piece to add to the evidence we have to find Jessie.”

Anyone with information about the case can share tips by calling 803-785-2457 or contacting Crimestoppers.