Mother of missing woman finds hope in Cleveland discovery

6:54 PM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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Tiffany Sessions disappeared after going out for an afternoon jog in Gainesville in February, 1989.
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TAMPA, Florida -- News out of Cleveland, Ohio that three kidnapped women have been found alive a decade after their disappearance is inspiring hope for a local mother who is still searching for her own daughter. 

"That's one of the scenarios that I've always had in my mind, that somebody has Tiffany and they're keeping her there," Hilary Sessions says.

Tiffany was 20 years old when she went missing in Gainesville in 1989. The last time anyone saw her, she was going for a walk near a wooded area in the southern part of the city. People of interest were interviewed. Tips came forward. None of them, though, led to answers for detectives or closure for her family.

Earlier this year, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office hired a detective to focus on the case.

Seeing what's happened in Cleveland renews Hilary's determination.

"When you lose hope, it's all over. So this is a reminder there is still hope out there," she says. "Until we know for sure that [Tiffany] is dead, then I have to keep that hope alive because that's what keeps me going every day."

Hilary turned heartbreak into advocacy, writing a book called "Where's My Tiffany?" and helping to pass legislation in Florida, including the Jennifer Kesse and Tiffany Sessions Missing Persons Act, which provides more assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on investigations into missing people between 18 and 25 years old, along with people 26 and older who may be in danger.

Hilary says taking positive steps helps her move forward.

"Don't give up hope. I don't care how long they've been missing. Don't give it up," she says.

She's working on bringing a child safety education program across the state, and urges parents to keep fingerprints, dental records, even DNA from their children just in case something happens.

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