Jesse Ross has been missing since 11/21/06.
In November 2006, Jesse Ross, 20, a sophomore in college, traveled to Chicago with a group of thirteen of his fellow University of Missouri-Kansas City college students and their faculty sponsor. The group was in town to attend a model United Nations convention held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The conference drew more than 1,000 college students from around the country.
On Nov. 20, Jesse called his mother, Donna, to say that he was having a blast at the conference and that he would call her the next day when he and the group were headed back home.
The next night, Nov. 21, the last night of the conference, a dance was held at the hotel. Jesse was spotted on a surveillance photo just before 1 am. He was then seen again at about 2:30 a.m. by friend Ralph Parker. He and Parker were taking part in a simulated emergency U.N. meeting with 30 other students when Jesse left the conference room through a side door. A surveillance camera in the hotel lobby caught the unmistakable image of the red-haired Jesse, clad in a white T-shirt, jeans, and a green warm-up jacket, walking toward the main doors. He was carrying a Gatorade bottle. Parker assumed Jesse had either gone to the restroom or headed back to their hotel to sleep. The hotel was at the Four Points Sheraton at 630 N. Rush St., about ten minutes away, but Jesse never arrived. No one has seen him since.
When the meeting concluded at about 5:30 a.m., Parker walked back to the hotel room alone. He turned on the hall light so he wouldn’t disturb his roommate. “There was a big mess on the bed, and he’s so skinny, I figured he was under the mess somewhere,” Parker says of Jesse. But when he woke up at 10 a.m., he realized Jesse had never returned. No reason to panic, he probably just crashed in someone else’s room, Parker thought. “So I just packed up his stuff thinking he should be thanking me,” he says. It wasn't until about 3 p.m., 12 hours after Jesse had last been seen that Parker and the other UMKC students on the trip realized there was a real emergency.
Jesse Ross is still missing.
Jesse Ross is described as intelligent and funny--a very likable young man not known for ever being depressed or negative. While friends say he had the occasional drink, he never became belligerent or disorderly if drinking. Jesse also has a very bright future mapped out and was on the path to achieving his goals. To anyone who knows him, there is nothing to lead them to believe that Jesse could have walked away from his life or that he would have committed suicide.
Jesse was majoring in communication studies/broadcasting with a minor in political science. He had received a scholarship to attend the University of Missouri Kansas City because of his high ACT score in high school. While at school, he had gotten a promotion from unpaid intern to paid morning on-air personality at Kansas City radio station 95.7 FM - "The Vibe"--- dream job for a sophomore communication studies/broadcasting major. He was now a popular radio personality on the "Shorty and the Boyz" morning show. Coworkers decided he needed an on-air name, so they named him "Opie Cunningham," after Ron Howard's TV characters, Opie Taylor and Richie Cunningham, said Don.
He was also looking forward to finishing up his new room in his parents' home, and he was pledging the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
No clues in disappearance
Since Jesse Ross was reported missing, police divers and cadaver dogs have searched along the Chicago River near the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. Police have also searched the area around both hotels---the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, where Jesse was last seen, and the Four Points Sheraton, where he was staying. They have not turned up any leads. Chicago police have found no evidence that he was a victim of foul play. There has been no activity on Jesse's credit cards or his cell phone, neither of which have been found. GPS tracking could not be used on Jesse's cell phone because it is either turned off or the battery is dead.
On a Web site dedicated to her son, Donna Ross has expressed her frustration. "When you lose someone you love when they pass on, you grieve and then you move on with your life," Donna said. "We are nowhere. We are still stuck in that revolving door. We know nothing more than we knew that first day."
Anyone with information about Jesse Ross’ disappearance should call Chicago police at (312) 744-8266.
Facts of Interest
Name/age: Jesse Ross, 20 (from Belton, MO)
College: University of Missouri at Kansas City
Last seen: 11/21/06, 2:30 am, Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers (301 E. North Water St).
Notes: Jesse was staying at the Four Points Sheraton (630 N. Rush Street), 10 minutes away.
Physical Description: 5'10," 140# and has red hair and freckles. He was last seen wearing a green warm-up jacket and blue jeans.
Investigating Agency: Chicago Police, (312) 744-8266.
Published: 11/21/06. Updated: 6/17/11.