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When Jessie went missing - she last spoke by phone with her mother on March 24, 2006, and was last seen by Todd on April 3, 2006 - Grant filed a report with North Las Vegas Police. After learning Jessie had been arrested in June 2005 and had an outstanding warrant for prostitution, Grant was certain their second-oldest daughter - a former honor roll student - was a victim of sex trafficking.

Police searched Todd’s home. They interviewed him twice. He said Jessie took her belongings and drove off. Authorities didn’t find anything suspicious, North Las Vegas Police Lt. Tim Bedwell said.

They tracked every lead they could, even tips from psychics, but all police ever found were animal bones in the desert. They even got two retired officers to search every recent missing-persons case for a link. They found nothing.

Grant and Foster insisted Todd was a pimp and blamed him for Jessie’s disappearance. With no evidence to indicate otherwise, police cleared Todd of wrongdoing.

Jessie’s case grew cold.

Nearly eight years later, Jessie’s case still haunts the department.

“We’ve conceded for a very long time that even though this is a missing-persons case, common sense says there’s been a crime committed and she’s a victim,” Bedwell said. “We just don’t know what, and we can’t find evidence.”

Jessie’s disappearance changed the course of Grant’s and Dwight Foster’s lives.

They entered a world of what-ifs and body watches, holding their breath every time human remains were found in Las Vegas.

Early on, the mystery festered like an open wound. What if Jessie is alive and being tortured? What if she died alone in the desert?

Then, near the end of the first year, Grant said she received a sign that helped her move forward. While on a flight to Las Vegas, she had learned police had found Shawn Hornsbeck, a child who had been kidnapped in Missouri and had been missing for four years.

Grant knew then Jessie might not come home any time soon. Grant would be in it for the long haul.

“Once I knew, it was easier to wait for the next few years to go by,” Grant said. “I don’t know how to explain that, but I just knew.”

Doris weaved the Ford Explorer through the rush-hour traffic on Interstate 15, toward Tropicana Avenue.

“If she says, ‘yes,’ we take her right there,” said Doris, Run 2 Rescue’s outreach coordinator, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her identity.

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