GA GA - Jessica Dietzel, aka Jessica Vanzant, 21, POI named, Albany, Feb 2020

Jessica Diane Vanzant Dietzel – The Charley Project

February 22, 2021 casefile added


Details of Disappearance
Dietzel was last seen in Albany, Georgia on February 18, 2020. That day she logged into her Facebook Messenger account with a friend, Gary Potter's, cellular phone; she didn't have her own phone and used other people's often. Police later tracked the login to somewhere near Five Points Inn. She has never been heard from again. She was reported missing by her mother on March 1.

After Dietzel's disappearance, police searched Potter's house and seized some of his property, including his truck. They found some hair that could have been Dietzel's, but they have yet to establish that. Potter claimed he did not know Dietzel and refused to answer any more questions without an attorney. Authorities also interviewed another man, Stephen Etherton, and his girlfriend, and stated Etherton was a person of interest in the case.

Prior to her disappearance, Dietzel had made a comment about getting in over her head and being scared. Authorities believe she was involved with dangerous individuals. Her case remains unsolved.
 
They found remains in Thomasville Ga. over the weekend, (not far from albany. I commuted to work in Thomasville- its not too far about an hour to 1 hour & 20 minutes from Albany) The postmortem interval is about a year. There is a missing person from miggs, several around the area, but the response from LE didn't seem promising when questioned if they believed it was missing woman Marlena Hurst- due to the post mortem interval- Hurst went missing in Dec 2020. LE said: without a doubt it would be a multi county/ agency investigation.

I hope it's not Jessica. I also know her family has been waiting for answers for over a year now. Prayers for them.

Prayers for swift resolution.
Report at link:
Human remains found in Thomas County
 
Missing Ciera Dawn Odenthal- I hope this is a case of missing- bc she wants to be missing. Doesn't look related, but these things usually resolve VERY quickly in our area if they're released to media. She was missing in 2019 but wasn't reported until 2020. She needs her own thread,. I made note bc it is Albany. - just in case- it will be here on Jessica's thread. Tbeir title is stupid.
Family: Albany mom’s disappearance linked to prostitution

Anybody checked/compared their Fb, or social media friend list? Do they have friends in common? We cant discuss the friends here. It just hit me thats something to check out. Just in case.
 
APR 6, 2021
Reward for information in Jessica Dietzel case increased (walb.com)
A reward for information in the Jessica Dietzel case has gone up from $2,000 to $5,000, according to KJ, Jessica’s mother.

[...]

The case remains open and the Albany Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office have not received any new, credible leads in the case.

[...]
 
Hey there- Was a thread ever created for Ciera? Was just reading up on Jessica & Ciera.

Missing Ciera Dawn Odenthal- I hope this is a case of missing- bc she wants to be missing. Doesn't look related, but these things usually resolve VERY quickly in our area if they're released to media. She was missing in 2019 but wasn't reported until 2020. She needs her own thread,. I made note bc it is Albany. - just in case- it will be here on Jessica's thread. Tbeir title is stupid.
Family: Albany mom’s disappearance linked to prostitution

Anybody checked/compared their Fb, or social media friend list? Do they have friends in common? We cant discuss the friends here. It just hit me thats something to check out. Just in case.
 
After reading through the posts again I have questions. Did anyone ever figure out who this Gary Potter guy was? LE stated she was involved with very dangerous people. Why were they so dangerous..drug dealers, gang members? Did she owe money she couldnt pay back..have info on them..what? The Stephen guy has a record but all saw listed was theft, no assaults, weapons charges so? Why is he a POI? Why would he murder Jessica? Did she go to the tent to city to buy drugs, do drugs, what was she addicted to? I ask because could she have OD'd and they panicked? Could the have put her body in the Flint river that was near the tent city? I'm sure she's no longer with us and feel for her poor mother and young daughter but so many questions running through my mind.
 
JUL 23, 2021
‘It’s her second birthday missing and she’s not here’: Jessica Dietzel’s mom wants answers to daughter’s disappearance (walb.com)
Friday marked Jessica Dietzel’s 23rd birthday — another birthday passing by since the young mother went missing in February 2020.

WALB News 10 spoke to KJ, Dietzel’s mother, about the strife she’s feeling at a time she’d normally watch her daughter blow out birthday candles.

[...]

Dietzel has been missing for over a year now. She didn’t have a cell phone of her own and used others’ phones frequently. She used social media to connect with friends and family.

Investigators last tracked her to the 5 Points Inn in Albany on February 18, 2020.

[...]

Lee County investigators said they’re working further to identify DNA evidence found on a man’s property.

Investigators said they’re having discussions about sending the hair sample to the FBI, with a sample of hair from Johnson to compare the DNA.

Lee County law enforcement said Gary Potter, a person of interest, denies knowing Dietzel. However, investigators said she logged into her Facebook account using his cell phone on a previous occasion.

[...]

Investigators said Potter isn’t cooperating with the investigation.

[...]

Lt. Danny Alday said if someone knows something and is afraid of coming forward, they can give them protection.

[...]

Albany Police Department said they are at a standstill on the case.

Police Chief Michael Persley said this is a classic example of law enforcement needing the community’s help.

[...]

If you know anything that could help with this investigation, call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at (229) 759-6012 or the Albany Police Department at (229) 431-2100.
 
Eight years of Dateline's Missing in America: 169 still missing

jessica-dietzel-photo-jpg.jpg


Jessica Vanzant Dietzel, a 21-year-old mother, who had been living in Leesburg, Georgia, was last in contact with her family in mid-February of 2020. She was last seen around the same time in the area of Albany, Georgia near the Flint River. There has been no activity on her social media or bank account. Deputy Daniel Alday with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office told Dateline there is no concrete date of when exactly Jessica disappeared, but they believe it’s in the time frame between February 16 and March 1. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Albany Police Department (APD) are working jointly on the case because Jessica lived in Lee County but was last seen in Albany, which is in Dougherty County. The family is offering a cash reward for anyone who has tips that lead to Jessica’s whereabouts. In early 2021, the reward was increased to $5,000. Albany Police Department Spokesperson Phyllis Banks told Dateline they are doing everything they can to find Jessica, but there have been no updates. Jessica is described as being 5’7”, 150 lbs, with green eyes and long, straight blonde hair. The name “Elena” is tattooed on her left upper chest near her collar bone. She has a nose ring in her right nostril, and a stud immediately below her right lower lip. Anyone with any information on Jessica’s whereabouts is asked to call the Albany Police Department 229-431-2100, the Albany Area Crime Stoppers at 229-436-TIPS or the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 229-759-6012.
 
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - March 1 marks two years since Jessica Dietzel, a Leesburg mother, was been reported missing.

Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, Dougherty County Police Department, and Lee County Sheriff’s Office were all on the case. The last time the police found records of Dietzel’s activity was Feb. 18, 2020. Since then, the search has been on to bring her back home.

Dietzel’s case is still open, and both her family and the community are still searching for the now 23-year-old.

More at Two years later: Still no answers to Jessica Dietzel’s disappearance
 
DEC 5, 2022

Jessica Vanzant Dietzel

jessica_vanzant_dietzel.jpg


Jessica Vanzant Dietzel, a 21-year-old mother who had been living in Leesburg, Georgia, was last in contact with her family in mid-February 2020. She was last seen around the same time in the area of Albany, Georgia near the Flint River. There has been no activity on her social media or bank account since. Deputy Daniel Alday with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office told Dateline there is no concrete date of when exactly Jessica disappeared, but they believe it’s in the time frame between February 16 and March 1. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Albany Police Department are working jointly on the case because Jessica lived in Lee County but was last seen in Albany, which is in Dougherty County. Albany Police Department Spokesperson Phyllis Banks told Dateline in 2021 that they are doing everything they can to find Jessica, but there have been no updates. Jessica is described as being 5’7”, 150 lbs., with green eyes and long, straight blonde hair. The name “Elena” is tattooed on her left upper chest near her collarbone. She has a nose ring in her right nostril, and a stud immediately below her right lower lip. Anyone with any information on Jessica’s whereabouts is asked to call the Albany Police Department at 229-431-2100, the Albany Area Crime Stoppers at 229-436-TIPS, or the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 229-759-6012.
 
FEB 18, 2023
It’s been three years to the day since the last known sighting of 21-year-old Jessica Dietzel. But her loved ones in South Georgia have not given up hope on finding her.

Kristina Johnson, the mother of Dietzel, said the Albany and Leesburg communities have heart. She said people have been supportive and praying for the family since she went missing.

“Oh my gosh, it would bring the happiness back to my soul to find her. We all love her, and she is just so precious to us,” Johnson said.

Johnson said it’s hard to believe Dietzel would go missing of her own free will without calling.

To be missing for three years makes Johnson feel certain that something happened to her.

[...]
 
They found remains in Thomasville Ga. over the weekend, (not far from albany. I commuted to work in Thomasville- its not too far about an hour to 1 hour & 20 minutes from Albany) The postmortem interval is about a year. There is a missing person from miggs, several around the area, but the response from LE didn't seem promising when questioned if they believed it was missing woman Marlena Hurst- due to the post mortem interval- Hurst went missing in Dec 2020. LE said: without a doubt it would be a multi county/ agency investigation.

I hope it's not Jessica. I also know her family has been waiting for answers for over a year now. Prayers for them.

Prayers for swift resolution.
Report at link:
Human remains found in Thomas County

Spotted your post search for any updates, I live outside Thomasville so have been following these cases on missing persons from area. IIRC, Marlena’s brother also disappeared under mysterious circumstances. During that time there were several mysterious circumstances of deaths and disappearance.
 
NOV 3, 2023
NBC News - 10 YEARS OF MISSING IN AMERICA
[...]

Deputy Daniel Alday with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office told Dateline there is no concrete date of when exactly Jessica disappeared, but they believe it’s in the time frame between February 16 and March 1. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Albany Police Department are working jointly on the case because Jessica lived in Lee County but was last seen in Albany in Dougherty County. Albany Police Department Spokesperson Phyllis Banks told Dateline in 2021 that they are doing everything they can to find Jessica, and there have been no updates since. ...

[...]
 
4 years later: Undisclosed evidence and new hope in the Jessica Dietzel case

Oh Lord her daughter just made me cry. How precious is that sweet baby hoping her Mama shows up at her 7th birthday party!
I so hope they find her Mama.
Maybe her daughter's plea will make a difference and bring answers.

The more stories of missing persons i hear- it's clear: Sometimes missing is worse than dead in long-term missing cases. it's traumatic for families- the not knowing where their loved one is- or what happened. I cannot imagine.
 
Last edited:
  • A Facebook Messenger login was traced to a local hotel
  • Jessica Vanzant Dietzel was last seen with a man named Gary Potter
  • Potter's location is unknown, unrelated warrant for his arrest
JessicaDietzelThumb.jpg

Investigators said Dietzel logged into her Facebook Messenger account using a phone belonging to a man named Gary Potter. That was near a motel in Albany, Georgia, in the early hours of the morning,

It’s not clear how Dietzel knew Potter, but witnesses said the two were also spotted together at the Cowboy Bills Bar, and investigators believe Potter offered Dietzel a ride home.

Lee County sheriff deputies have executed multiple search warrants at Potter’s address and seized items including his truck.

They’ve named Potter a person of interest, with deputies finding a hair inside the seized truck, but they haven’t revealed if that hair could be Dietzel’s.
 
  • A Facebook Messenger login was traced to a local hotel
  • Jessica Vanzant Dietzel was last seen with a man named Gary Potter
  • Potter's location is unknown, unrelated warrant for his arrest
JessicaDietzelThumb.jpg

Investigators said Dietzel logged into her Facebook Messenger account using a phone belonging to a man named Gary Potter. That was near a motel in Albany, Georgia, in the early hours of the morning,

It’s not clear how Dietzel knew Potter, but witnesses said the two were also spotted together at the Cowboy Bills Bar, and investigators believe Potter offered Dietzel a ride home.

Lee County sheriff deputies have executed multiple search warrants at Potter’s address and seized items including his truck.

They’ve named Potter a person of interest, with deputies finding a hair inside the seized truck, but they haven’t revealed if that hair could be Dietzel’s.
There's more info there than I ever remember being shared before.
 
  • A Facebook Messenger login was traced to a local hotel
  • Jessica Vanzant Dietzel was last seen with a man named Gary Potter
  • Potter's location is unknown, unrelated warrant for his arrest
JessicaDietzelThumb.jpg

Investigators said Dietzel logged into her Facebook Messenger account using a phone belonging to a man named Gary Potter. That was near a motel in Albany, Georgia, in the early hours of the morning,

It’s not clear how Dietzel knew Potter, but witnesses said the two were also spotted together at the Cowboy Bills Bar, and investigators believe Potter offered Dietzel a ride home.

Lee County sheriff deputies have executed multiple search warrants at Potter’s address and seized items including his truck.

They’ve named Potter a person of interest, with deputies finding a hair inside the seized truck, but they haven’t revealed if that hair could be Dietzel’s.
Noting:
  1. Jessica logged into FB Messenger 2/18/2020 using a phone belonging to Gary Potter, near a motel in Albany, Georgia, in the early hours of the morning.
  2. The last message sent asked a friend to call her and said “I know I’m in too deep…”
  3. Potter currently faces a bench warrant on separate charges of child molestation, and his current location is unknown.
  4. Jessica's mother believes something happened that night at the motel or at a nearby home where drug activity was suspected.
  5. “They gave her something,” Johnson said. “I think they overdosed or did something to her.”
  6. That theory was bolstered by a tip to a sheriff’s deputy. A confidential informant reportedly told him Dietzel’s body was in a deep freezer and pit at an old landfill.
  7. But Jessica's mother said instead of going to the old site the informant named on Maple Avenue, searchers went to the wrong landfill.
  8. Johnson said she gave evidence to investigators, like one of Dietzel’s notebooks, found in a parking lot six months after her disappearance in pristine condition.
  9. Another piece of evidence was a phone that belonged to Dietzel’s estranged husband, containing texts from the night she disappeared asking if she was alive.
 

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