Investigators search new site for clues in disappearance of Tiffany Sessions

University of Florida student disappeared on Feb. 9, 1989

Investigators said they have new information from a witness in an Alachua County cold case.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Investigators said they have new information from a witness in an Alachua County cold case.

The tip is seen as a big lead in the 31-year-old mystery of what happened to University of Florida student Tiffany Sessions and it brings investigators to a new location in the Gainesville area.

Sessions was 20 years old when she disappeared while out for a walk or a run on Feb. 9, 1989. Investigators believe Sessions was abducted and murdered by a now-deceased convicted serial killer.

This week, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children assisted the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI in the latest search for answers in the case.

Investigators said new information from a witness placed Sessions and her killer in an area -- which the Gainesville Sun reports is in northeastern Alachua County -- during the same time she vanished.

After months of preparation, 40 acres of dense woods were cleared so search teams could work.

Anthropology graduate students from the University of Florida are part of the search. Sessions’ family is also at the site daily.

Investigators admitted that finding any clue there after more than three decades is extremely difficult, but not impossible.

Officials identified Paul Rowles, a convicted murderer and rapist who died while incarcerated for other crimes, as their lead suspect in 2014. Rowles worked as a pizza delivery driver and delivered scaffolding to apartment complexes along the road Sessions walked every day and where she disappeared in 1989.

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Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.