Over the next six days, Jesse's friends and family searched for him. Tracing possible routes, including those to his father's or grandfather's homes, they looked in and around the creek off Hwy 22/42 more than once. They found nothing. Ultimately, on Oct. 19, Jesse's overturned car was found in that same area by a deputy who was out searching around 2 a.m.
The Courier-Tribune reported, "N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper J. Frye, assigned to the Randolph County office, investigated the accident. He said the vehicle was traveling north, crossed the center line, struck a DOT warning sign, then hit the bridge and went into the water."
Jesse's body was found a short time later underneath the bridge. It lay outside of the car, facedown in 18 inches of water. Oddly, Jesse was wearing a different shirt than the one he had last been seen in. He was also not wearing shoes--his brand new Nike Air Max shoes were inside the car--and he was missing one sock. It has been reported on message boards on Web Sleuths that his pants were found on the ground outside the car window.
Police theorize that with a severely fractured hip, Jesse crawled out the window onto the dry land, then crawled 30 feet upstream through stagnant water where he then drowned. But he had no life threatening injuries. Also, no explanation was given as to why Jesse would not have been driving without shoes and only one sock, or why he was wearing a different shirt. According to Web Sleuths, his wallet was also found away from the car under a rock, and his cell phone has not been recovered. Despite all the questions remaining, the case was deemed an auto accident and closed.
Jesse's mother, Kathy Gaines, believes there is more to the story. She relayed to ABC's WTVD that the medical examiner said that Jesse had only been dead for a day, but he had been missing for six.
She has posted a "Justice for Jesse" petition on Change.org urging Randolph County officials to invite the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) to review the case. She is hoping the NCSBI will find answers.
Click here to read and sign the petition.
Name/age: Jesse Lewis Maness
Residence: Bear Creek, NC
Hometown: Siler City, NC (visited on weekends)
Physical Description: 6'2," 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes
Last seen wearing: new Nike Air Max shoes, long-sleeve cream-colored shirt, cargo-style khaki pants
Agency: Siler City Police Department 919-742-5626
Anderson, Mary. (2012, Oct. 19). Missing man found dead. The Courier-Tribune.com. Retrieved Dec. 30, 2013 from http://courier-tribune.com/sections/news/local/missing-man-found-dead.html.
Hinchcliffe, Kelly. (2012, Oct. 18). Siler City police searching for missing 24-year-old man. WRAL.com. Retrieved Dec. 30, 2013 from http://www.wral.com/siler-city-police-searching-for-missing-man/11673284/
Hinchcliffe, Kelly. (2012, Oct. 19). Man missing from Siler City killed in car wreck. WRAL.com. Retrieved Dec. 30, 2013 from http://www.wral.com/siler-city-police-searching-for-missing-man/11677983/
O'Hara, Kelli. (2012, Nov. 8). Mother of man found dead questions how he died. ABC.com. Retrieved Dec. 30, 2013 from
Websleuths.com. Accessed Dec. 30, 2013 from http://www.websleuths.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-188281.html