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Unanswered Questions: Barnes family renewing search for missing Jessie

December 1, 2012

It's been 12 years since Annie Barnes has seen her sister Jessie.
Jessie has been classified as a "Missing Person" since July 7, 2000, and she was last seen by family in the vicinity of the 800 block of Little Street in West Point.
"We call her Little Jessie because she is the baby of the four children my mother had," Barnes said.
Barnes' mother, Katie Ruth has taken the disappearance hard.
"She has been devastated ever since the day we found out "Little Jessie" had disappeared," she said.
Suffering from what Barnes describes as a learning disability, Jessie left behind a three year-old daughter who is now 16.
According to Barnes, there are a number of troubling mysteries that surround her sister's disappearance, and she's asking anyone who might remember her and knows something about her whereabouts to call the West Point Police Department.
"I know someone, somewhere knows what happened to my sister," Barnes said on Friday.
The week that Jessie vanished, Barnes said she had an odd encounter with her on Little Street. She said that her sister told her something very disturbing about some of the company she had been keeping.
"She told me that this man had told her to bring him back some money," Barnes said. "She also told me that he had put a knife to her. I told her not to go back to those people. I told her to stay away."
When she quizzed Jessie about man, her sister was unable to correctly identify him due to her disability.
"She did not remember names," Barnes said. "She could remember faces, but she could not remember names or numbers very well. She kept telling me 'you know him. He stays of there (pointing in a general direction). He's skinny and wears that ball cap all the time.'"
It's frustrating for Barnes who was never able to put a name on the man that might know what happened to her sister.
"I kept thinking to myself, she could be talking about anybody in West Point," Barnes said.
Barnes says that she knows positively the man was not who Jessie was seeing at the time, a person who Barnes says has been deceased for two years.
The week that Jessie disappeared, the Barnes family suffered the loss of a grandmother. Barnes says that it was not usual for Jessie to slip away for a couple of days, but she always came back home.
By the time her grandmother's funeral had ended, the family noticed Jessie's absence and began asking questions.
"We were all grieving at the time, but when the funeral was over, people started to ask 'where's Little Jessie?'" Barnes said. "We thought at first she might have been staying with girlfriends or something, but she would never just stay away."
Little Jessie was known to frequent Al's Cafe, an establishment that has since closed down. She is described as a black female with several identifying marks, including a scar just below her right knee, a bite mark on her neck and a burn scar on her lower back.
She was seen wearing a blue jean dress with a white t-shirt underneath.
"Little Jessie was not just a sister and a daughter, but she was a mother as well," Barnes said. "I tell you this has really hurt my family very bad. That's why I'm asking for anyone who knows anything about what happened to my sister to please let us know."
Barnes told the Daily Times Leader on Friday that she has not spoken with the current administration at the West Point Police Department. Police Chief Tim Brinkley could not be reached for comment on Friday, but anyone who has information about Jessie can call the WPPD with an anonymous tip at 494-1244.

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