May 18, 2020 | By Laura S. Rivera-Lopez
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class. The student credited above wrote this story as a class project.
Nikki Glover’s mother, Geanna Maria Jones, has been missing for two decades, but Nikki has never stopped her search.
Nikki described her mother’s story as a “hard story, happy ending” before her disappearance. But now her story is shrouded in mystery with no end in sight.
Geanna was a loving, supportive mother and wife and member of her Jacksonville community. She had spent years rebuilding her life after surviving a long period of struggles. And then, she disappeared.
Nikki knew of her mother’s drug abuse early on. By then, Geanna had already split from Nikki’s father.
“Mom was on drugs for six to nine years,” Nikki said, the oldest of Geanna’s six children. “I remember how it was when I was in middle school.”
“But she had a big turnaround, she went to NA meetings, and in many ways, she became a soccer mom.” Geanna married her husband Wildred Jones on September 13, 1990. Shortly after, she landed a job as a system monitor for SecurityLink.
Nikki was incredibly proud of her mother for turning her life around. Geanna had six children and would do anything for them. “She would do all the good mom things. She’d take us to Disney World a lot. She’d be there for all of us,” Nikki said. Geanna was always motivated because of her kids.
Nikki ran track in school, and fondly remembers her mother attending as many meets as she could. “She was always there cheering me on while I did sports,” Nikki says. “I also remember us cooking together, just being a family.”
On November 5, 2000, Geanna left for work in the early hours of the morning but never arrived. Police quickly discovered her abandoned SUV about a mile from her home and launched an extensive investigation. But no one is known to have ever seen her again.
This shocked the family’s neighborhood, a newer development located in West Jacksonville on Big Sky Court. The area was just starting to sprawl. “A lot of people were worried about her,” Nikki said. “It was a new area of Jacksonville at the time, and people didn’t know what to think.”
Geanna’s husband, Wilfred Jones, left Jacksonville after her disappearance. When police determined the home to be a crime scene, Jones declined to allow them to search. The investigators then went to file for a search warrant.
As police were awaiting the warrant, the house caught fire and burned down. Police stated that Jones had fallen asleep in the bed with a lighted cigarette. He was awoken by the smoke alarms.
According to Nikki, police investigated Jones after he refused to cooperate. She doesn’t speak to Jones anymore.
Geanna Jones was 36 years old when she disappeared. She was 5 foot, 9 inches tall with greying brown hair and brown eyes.
“It was my birthday just two days before,” Nikki said. “She made sure to come by my party, but she didn’t stay for long. I spoke to her the next day.” That was the last time Nikki spoke to her mother.
Nikki received a call from Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office stating her mother never made it to work. Since then, she has not stopped looking for her mother. Nikki frequently posts on social media about her mother, asking for any new updates or information.
“Ever since then, I’ve been collecting any information and bringing it over to JSO,” Nikki said. “Her disappearance really affected the community, and our family really suffered from it.”
Four of Nikki’s siblings were living in the home at the time of their mother’s disappearance. The children were placed in the care of their aunt and uncle for a short time before being placed in foster homes. Despite Nikki being 21, she wasn’t able to have custody of her siblings.
In the 20 years since Geanna’s disappearance, her family has grown strained. “I think that as the years have gone by, I kept asking them why they never did enough to look for her,” Nikki said.
Geanna loved to write. She would write letters and stories for anyone to read. Nikki still has one of her mother’s journals.
Geanna also became very involved with helping others recover from drug addiction just as she had done. “She spent so long going to meetings that she actually became a sponsor herself. She was very passionate about helping others,” Nikki said. “Her best friend is her sponsor who helped her a lot.”
Geanna’s family has never held a funeral for her. Every year on her birthday, some of the family will reunite, bring a cake, and release balloons.
Geanna Jones would be 56 if she were alive today. She has missed out on seeing her six children grow up. She didn’t get to meet many of her 13 grandchildren or her two great-grandchildren.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Geanna Jones, please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
Research and Impact
With the utilization of DNA evidence to assist in solving cold cases continues to grow, the Project: Cold Case office is often asked if the evidence in a loved one’s cold case can be tested in this manner. The easiest answer is this – it’s complicated.
As Project: Cold Case does not investigate cases, we can only discuss these topics in a broad scope. We don’t have all the details of any specific case and whether they have evidence even suitable for DNA testing. It’s important for families to have a working relationship with their investigators to receive these answers regarding their specific cases.
We caution families to understand that, depending on the age of their loved one’s case, there might not be usable evidence for DNA testing. Investigators didn’t utilize early DNA technologies until the late 1990s. Cases from the 1970s and 1980s were simply handled differently. There are often instances where evidence collectors didn’t wear gloves on the scene – they were just different times.
It’s also important to note that technology is constantly rapidly evolving. Forensic DNA is a technology less than 30 years old. Testing methodologies from 10 years ago are completely different than they are today, and today’s testing will be different than another 10 years from now. DNA is a perishable good in a sense – if an agency sends evidence to be tested and there are no results, there were pieces of DNA lost for good. Many cases that may have trace DNA samples are not being tested just yet in hopes that future technological breakthroughs can be even more effective than what we have available today.
Understanding the inner workings of forensic DNA and genetic testing is difficult and confusing. Be in contact with your detectives and ask whether these technologies are fitting for your loved one’s case.
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