Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
On the morning of December 26, 1995. Jessica, a seventh-grader, left to spend the day at a friend's house. She was supposed to call at 5 p.m to let her mother know whether she'd be home for dinner. She didn't call. By the time her mother, Mary Klein, realized her daughter was gone, Jessica had left the state with a 23-year-old man named Jimmy Hopkins.
Police initially treated Jessica's disappearance as a runaway case. Her friends and family say Jessica did not run away and was not romantically involved with Hopkins, nine years her senior.
Police learned that Hopkins had paid another man, Mark Henderson, to drive them away on the day she disappeared. Hopkins told Henderson that he and Jessica were going to Niagara Falls to get married, police reports say. But Henderson said Jessica only sat quietly in the back seat with her head down. They stayed in a hotel in Cloverdale, Indiana, that night — Henderson in one room, Jessica and Hopkins in the room next door. Henderson told detectives that he heard loud noises coming from their room that sounded like a body hitting the wall.
When Henderson awoke the next morning, Hopkins and Jessica were gone. So was his car. Later that day, Hopkins pawned his grandmother's wedding ring 300 miles away in Paris, Tennessee. Less than two weeks later, the car was found abandoned in Compton, California.
Detectives learned that Hopkins worked at an ice cream shop not far from there and interviewed people who said they had seen a girl matching Jessica's description with him. Police believe Jessica made it to California, but don't know what happened to her next.
In April of 1996, Hopkins returned to Missouri. He bounced around in the following years, spending time in Union and Joplin. Police reports say Hopkins gave police and his family members varying accounts of where Jessica was, including one story that she was living with a man named Capone somewhere in California. He said they were living in a hotel that police learned didn't exist.
Jessica's mother said Hopkins taunted her, shouting across parking lots that Jessica was dead and she should get over it.
On April 12, 2008 Hopkins handcuffed his wife's hands behind her back and shot her to death in their Joplin home. Then he fatally shot himself.
Hopkins was never charged in connection with Jessica's disappearance. Police reports indicate that investigators had hoped to find Jessica to build a stronger case against Hopkins. Jessica was never located.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Union Police Department