Jennifer Odom Murder: Divers back at Lake Jovita for second day of search in Jennifer Odom case

2:33 PM, Jun 19, 2013   |    comments
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San Antonio, Florida -- UPDATE: The Hernando County Sheriff's Office has reported the search for evidence at Lake Jovita ended around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Investigators say after an exhaustive search, divers did not find anything of value in connection with Jennifer's Odom's case, or any other open case.

The scene has since been cleared.

From Earlier:

Members of an elite FBI dive team and their local colleagues slipped back into dark Lake Jovita on Wednesday, hunting for a large piece of submerged evidence.

Investigators won't give details on what they hope to find -- saying that if it's located at all, it could be junk or it could be a key clue in cracking the 20-year-old murder mystery of Jennifer Odom.

In the water, divers spent Wednesday morning swimming in search patterns in one small area of the quiet, tree-ringed Pasco County lake. They've been hampered by the dark water and muddy lake bottom, which is a mix of silt, plants, and debris. But they're aided by some of the best tools in the world.

The FBI has brought an Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team from its Miami office, a technical dive team from its Washington headquarters, and a CSI evidence team from its Tampa field office, according to FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier.

Add to that divers and detectives from sheriff's offices in both Pasco and Hernando counties, and it's clear investigators are dedicated to finding a break in this case that has haunted them for two decades.

The initial tip that led detectives to the underwater hunt in Lake Jovita was related to the 1993 murder of 12-year-old Jennifer Odom, said Hernando Sheriff's spokeswoman Denise Moloney.

Jennifer disappeared on the walk home from her school bus stop about three miles from the Pasco County lake where investigators are now searching.

Days later, her body was found in an orange grove several miles north in Hernando County. Earlier this year, Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis assigned a full-time detective to Jennifer's case, hoping to uncover new leads in a trail that had gone cold.

No one saw Jennifer's abduction, but students reported seeing a blue pickup truck creeping along near her before she disappeared. Investigators won't say whether that pickup truck is what they're looking for in Lake Jovita.

A report in the Tampa Bay Times claimed a law enforcement spokesperson had said a vehicle is the subject of the search, but that spokesperson told 10 News, "I was misquoted."

Be sure to watch 10 News at 5 this afternoon to get a perspective on the search you'll see Only on 10.

With permission from the detectives in the case, divers from Aquatic Adventures of Florida in Zephyrhills took a high definition underwater camera into Lake Jovita.

They'll show you exactly what challenges the searching divers are facing as they try to find the critical clue that may be sitting beneath the surface.

You'll see their video and hear from them what it's like down below -- only on 10 News at 5.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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