PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — It’s a cold case that has haunted the Bay Area for 26 years — the murder of 12-year-old Jennifer Odom.
- Jennifer Odom, 12, was killed in February of 1993
- Odom was getting off school bus when she disappeared
- Her body was found in an orange grove in Hernando Co.
Detective George Loydgren now leads the investigation, with the hopes of finally solving the little girl’s murder.
“A lot of man hours have been put into this case from 1993 until now,” Loydgren said. “And everybody takes this case home. This is an innocent child who was murdered.”
It happened on February 19, 1993 in Pasco County. Odom got off her school bus in Dade City but never made it to her family’s home, prompting a massive search by local law enforcement and volunteers.
Six days later, Odom’s body was found in an overgrown section of an orange grove in Hernando County.
“It’s law enforcement’s worst nightmare,” Loydgren said. “She’s just getting off the school bus like she does every day during the week and she goes missing.”
The files for Odom’s case fill up most of the shelves in Loydgren’s evidence room.
“There’s nearly 6-thousand leads in Jennifer Odom’s case and there’s still more to pursue,” Loydgren said.
Many of them have led nowhere, including the search for a blue pickup truck seen driving slowly down Odom’s road that day.
Still, Loydgren said the door hasn’t been shut on a man he calls a person of interest in the case, Jeffrey Norman Crum Sr.
Crum was convicted in April of 2019 in another cold case involving the 1992 brutal rape of a 17-year-old Pasco County girl.
Loydgren said that girl was left for dead in an area just 15 minutes from where Odom’s body was found, and like Odom, she too had just gotten off her school bus when she was attacked.
In 2015, FDLE identified Crum as the suspect by using a familial DNA search after the DNA of Crum’s son was taken while he was in prison for armed robbery.
Loydgren won’t divulge much more information on where Odom’s case stands today but said he is chasing down a new lead. He is asking for the anonymous tipster who contacted him in November of 2016, with information about a certain individual, to contact him again.
Loydgren admits it’s a vague request but said he has to protect the integrity of the investigation, even after all this time.
“In any case, you want that resolution,” Loydgren said. “You can’t undo what was done, but at least have that person answer for what they did.”
If you have any information that could help solve this case, you can contact Detective Loydgren at 352-797-3714.