HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – Hernando County Sheriff’s Office announced that Jeffrey Norman Crum, 61, has been charged with kidnapping, sexual battery, and murder in the cold case of Jennifer Odom.
Crum is currently serving two life sentences for murder and sexual battery, according to Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis.
State Attorney Bill Gladson said that his office would seek the death penalty in the Odom case.
On February 19th, 1993, twelve-year-old Jennifer Renee Odom had just gotten home from school and stepped off her school bus around 3:00 PM, waving goodbye to her friends as the bus drove away.
She began the 200-yard walk home from the school bus stop. She would never arrive – meeting a fate almost too difficult to imagine.
Renee Converse, Odom’s Mother, recalls in numerous interviews, how she drove her daughter to the bus that morning, as it was their morning ritual to spend time together and talk. She watched as Odom exited the car, climbed onto the bus, and took her usual seat towards the back so she could watch her mother drive follow the bus on her way to work.
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Odom would always wave goodbye as her mother would turn onto another road toward her job. Converse recounts the last words being spoken between the two as ‘I love you.’
When Odom’s 9-year-old sister Jessica, arrived home that afternoon around 4:00 pm, the door to the home was locked, and she was unable to enter. Jessica then called her mother, who then realized Jennifer must not have made it home. Converse called Odom’s best friend Michelle, who stated that she saw Odom exit the bus and begin walking home. Converse knew something was very wrong and called the police.
A search party was formed consisting of family, friends, neighbors, and volunteers to find the missing girl.
On February 25th, the badly decomposed naked body of Jennifer Odom was found lying in an orange grove 10 miles north in the Spring Lake area of Hernando County. She had been brutally murdered.
Children riding the school bus remember seeing an older blue pickup truck driving slowly down the road in the direction in which Jennifer was walking. The driver was described by children on the bus as a white male in his 40s with shoulder-length brown hair. Neither the truck nor the driver was ever located.
Police were able to lift fingerprints from her backpack, which was found two years later, along with a clarinet case that was in her possession from what is believed to be her killer(s), but there was never a hit in the database for a suspect.
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Psychic Nancy Myer, one of the world’s top Psychic Detectives, was called in 16 months later from Pennsylvania to assist investigators with the search. Myer believes the killer(s) asked the young girl for directions, and when she approached them, they abducted her. Myer was taken to the location in which Odom was found and stated that she was not murdered there but had been placed there afterward.
She accurately described some of Odom’s belongings that were found nearby, such as jewelry, as well as other belongings which were to be found two years later – including her backpack and clarinet case, which had the initials L.O. on it – which stood for Odom’s cousin’s initials, to which the clarinet belonged.
Odom’s clothing that day, which consisted of a white turtleneck, white jeans, a red cashmere sweater, and a white sweater, that had Hooters on the arm, was never found.
Myer believes Odom was murdered by two men, one of which she described as being 6’1”, with a medium build, and ‘wiry’ looking arms, stating that he wasn’t necessarily strong but that he was used to working with lifting heavy things. She believes both men to be mechanics, and one has a smoker’s cough.
Odom’s story aired on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries on December 2, 1994, and has greatly received attention from the media since her murder was publicized. Still, no answers have been found for her family, who have never lost hope that they will indeed find justice.
Jennifer absolutely loved her Springer Spaniel, Gypsy, and her sister Jessica, who is now 36 years old.
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There were various potential suspects named in the Odom case, such as Frank T. Potts, a serial killer, who has not been charged with her death.
Additionally, there was Walter Ducharme, whose ex-wife claims he is responsible for the murder; however, she presented an inconsistent testimony that didn’t hold up when presented in front of a Grand Jury – therefore, he was not indicted.
Lastly, there was Jeffrey Norman Crum, who was arrested in 2017 for another kidnapping and rape, as well as the attempted murder of another teenage girl with incredibly similar trademarks to Odom’s case.
DNA evidence was in the process of being tested in this case.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that Jeffrey Norman Crum, 61, has been charged with kidnapping, sexual battery, and murder in the cold case of Jennifer Odom.
With over one-thousand pieces of evidence recovered, numerous tips that have poured in, and a 75,000-page file, Odom’s case is one that still leaves a hole in the heart of the community. Law Enforcement vows to bring justice and never give up their search for Jennifer Odom’s killer.