Cops Name Suspect in Student's '89 Disappearance

Florida police think suspected serial killer Paul Rowles murdered Tiffany Sessions

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 6, 2014 3:50 PM CST

(Newser) – Florida police think they're close to closing a 25-year-old case involving a missing University of Florida student. The sheriff of Alachua County said today that it's "highly, highly probable" that suspected serial killer Paul Rowles murdered Tiffany Sessions in 1989, reports CNN. Rowles died in prison last year at age 64, and a journal that turned up after his death contains a chilling clue, reports the Orlando Sentinel. In it, Rowles wrote "2-9-89"—the date that 20-year-old Sessions disappeared in his Gainesville neighborhood—and "#2" next to it. Investigators think it means he was referring to his second victim. (Rowles had been convicted of a previous murder but released from prison after nine years.)

Police have begun looking for Sessions' remains at the site where yet another of Rowles' suspected victims was buried in 1992. “To me, the case is solved,” Sessions' father tells the Miami Herald. “I’m convinced this is the guy who did it.” Rowles, who was serving time for a separate case in which he kidnapped and raped a teenage girl, denied involvement in Sessions' disappearance while he was alive. Police were about to interview him about the case again when he died of cancer.

An undated photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections of Paul Rowles.   (AP Phopto/Florida Department of Corrections)
Hilary Sessions, right, gives a hug to FBI agent Brad Dando, left, for his work in the case of her missing daughter Tiffany.   (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
Patrick Sessions talks to the media Thursday.   (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
Patrick Sessions, center, and son Jason, right, watch as police use a back hoe Thursday in Gainesville, Fla., to dig for evidence in the 1989 disappearance of Tiffany Sessions.   (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
An undated photograph provided by the Sessions family is the last known photo of University of Florida student Tiffany Sessions.   (AP Photo/Sessions Family)
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