Jessica Baggen Wiki- Jesscia Baggen Bio
Jessica Baggen was murdered in the early hours of the morning of her 17th birthday some 24 years ago. Authorities finally identified the killer, after he took his own life.
On a brisk morning in May 1996, 17-year-old Jessica Baggen left a party to walk back home to the small town of Sitka, Alaska, after celebrating her birthday with friends.
When her curfew was lost, her parents gave her a little more time and finally called the police when she did not show up. In 1996, teens weren’t carrying cell phones or posting their every move on social media, so no one knew exactly where she was or who she had left her birthday party with at her sister’s house.
In the hours that followed, her parents rebuilt her last steps and search teams combed a bike path through a forest between her sister’s house and her parents’ home on Sawmill Creek Road.
Jesscia Baggen Maj. Dave Hanson, of the Alaska State Troopers, said Tuesday during a Facebook livestream.
“On May 6, searchers found the shirt Jessica was wearing when she was last seen alive,” Alaska State Troopers Major Dave Hanson said Tuesday during a Facebook live broadcast. “Less than two hours later, Jessica’s body was recovered approximately 70 feet from a bike path parallel to Sawmill Creek Road. It had been discarded and hastily buried under a log under a hollowed-out tree trunk. ”
The case shocked the small town of 8,000 people, where children felt safe and spent their free time fishing and playing sports. His obituary, as described in the Anchorage Daily News, told of a teenager who loved to cook and listen to Willie Nelson, and who especially loved what they called “Thanksgiving cake-making marathons.” He had plans to attend college in Arizona after graduation and pursue a career in photography.
For 24 years, the case remained cold. A man falsely confessed to the murder and more than 100 people were acquitted using DNA from forensic evidence taken from the crime scene.
Jesscia Baggen Alaskan officials had recently solved two other murders through genetic genealogy by sending historical forensic DNA coding to Parabon NanoLabs
Alaska officials had recently solved two other murders through genetic genealogy by submitting historical forensic DNA coding to Parabon NanoLabs, which then searched online ancestry databases. The investigation led them to Branch, who was living in Sitka when Baggen disappeared. When he refused to comply with the DNA request, the police left to obtain an arrest warrant. Half an hour after the police left his home, Branch shot himself in the head.
A week later, police say Branch’s DNA matches samples found on the teen’s body. The use of genetic genealogy is not proven in court. The other two Alaska cases that led to arrests have yet to be tried
Most recently involved, Steven Downs, 44, of Maine, who was arrested in February 2019 after genetic genealogy linked him to the murder of Sophie Sergie, who was found dead on the campus of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in 1993, according to Anchorage. Daily News. A few months later, in September, Donald McQuade, 62, was arrested in Oregon for the murder of an Anchorage teenager named Shelley Connolly, whose body was found in a gutter in 1993.
The focus on solving unsolved cases in Alaska was given a boost in 2018 by the family of another missing teenager, Bonnie Craig, whose case was resolved in 2016, 17 years after she was murdered. The Craig family created a fund to inject money into the department that investigates unsolved cases, which has now led to the conclusion of the three recent cases
Jesscia Baggen’s killer, after finding Branch’s family
In the case of Baggen’s killer, after finding Branch’s family tree, they discovered that not only was she living in Sitka when she was killed, but that she had also been investigated for sexual assault earlier that year. “Investigators established that Branch had lived in Sitka at the time of Jessica’s murder,” Major Hanson said Tuesday. “The Cases Solved Unit also learned that in March 1996, just a few weeks before Jessica’s murder, the Sitka Police Department had investigated Branch for assaulting another teenage girl. He was charged and arrested for the incident in June 1996, but was subsequently acquitted after a trial in 1997 ”.
At a press conference in Anchorage Tuesday, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price said Baggen’s unsolved murder “haunted” the department. “While Branch will never face a jury of her peers in this case, we can finally say that Jessica’s case is resolved,” she said. “There is no amount of time that can pass that a case cannot be a priority for this department.