Jessica Suzanne Gutierrez, 4, was kidnapped on June 5, 1986 from Lexington, South Carolina. During the night, someone broke into the home via the living room window and took Jessica who was sleeping in her bed. Jessica’s 6-year-old sister, Rebecca said that Jessica had been taken by a man with a magic hat.
A fingerprint obtained from the window sill outside matched a suspect that Debi Gutierrez, Jessica’s mom does not want to disclose. This suspect had served time in a North Carolina jail for rape. “I believe the suspect knows the family,” said Debi.
Debi who compulsively cleaned the window every day said that Alan Wilson with the Attorney General’s office told her, “Had he left the print on the inside of the window, that would prove he came in; however, it’s on the outside,” said Debi.
“Mind you, these were the old crank shaft windows on a mobile home. The crank was broke. You would have to be outside to pick up the bottom window pane, all the windows open all at once. This was probably the most stupidest remark I’ve heard,” said Debi.
Lexington County Sheriff James Metts never named a suspect and only said the investigation turned up a person of interest. Then three months later the same suspect stole a van in Lexington County, headed towards North Carolina, and raped a Judge’s daughter. He was caught and while he was in jail he told an inmate that he had kidnapped a young girl and would confess if given immunity for the crime. Eerily, he said he was wearing a cowboy hat at the time. He was denied immunity, and was found guilty for stealing the van and rape and was sentenced to jail in 1987.
Time went on and other than a few media stories that retold the story, no new information, nor no one came forward with any tips.
Then on June of 2014, there was a surprising charges against Sheriff James Metts, for taking bribes, wire fraud and conspiracy. Click here to read the full story about Metts by BuzzFeed.
Debi told me there was much more going on with the Sheriff than just those charges and said that Wis-Chanel 10 news, Columbia, SC had a copy of the recorded tape, where two days after Jessica was kidnapped, Sheriff Metts told her, “I’ll take all the men off your daughter’s case and we will all go home and forget about you and your little girl.”
The conversation in part is as follows:
Sheriff Metts: “What do you want me to do? Someone’s got to hold your hand, or out working?”
Gutierrez: “Listen here. I don’t need you to hold me hand. I – and I don’t need you to get smart with me either.”
Sheriff Metts: “I’m not going to get smart with you but you’re not going to get smart with me either lady. I’ve been up all night long working on your case and I don’t need your smart mouth.”
Gutierrez: “Oh really?”
Sheriff Metts: “No.”
Gutierrez: “When I ask you questions I need answers.”
Sheriff Metts: “We’ll give you answers when we got answers to give. Now you mess with me, I’ll pull all my people off and we’ll go home and go to bed and forget about your case.”
Gutierrez: “What could the president do about that? You mean to tell me that if I mess with you – you would pull all your people off this case, and go home and forget about my child?”
Sheriff Metts: “That’s right.”
Gutierrez: “And what about the public that elected you to be in that office?”
Sheriff Metts: “They can elect me or not elect me because I don’t really give a darn what they do.”
“Governor Beasley’s office confessed to a reporter of receiving a copy of the tape, but denied knowing ‘what happened’ to the tape. The tape was destroyed when they were able to get Metts out of the running.”
Debi believes that her daughters case had been mishandled from the beginning. She told us, “I’ve known for over 31 years whose finger print matched on the window that was entered into to kidnap my daughter, but the so-called officials in this corrupt county are afraid or holding back on an arrest. This county and it’s officials have done next to nothing to arrest and prosecute her kidnapper!
In 2015, Federal Judge Terry Wooten sentenced Metts to one year and a day in prison for his role in a scheme to help immigrants who are in the country illegally avoid detection at the Lexington County jail. Metts was ordered to pay a fine and was given two years probation that was to begin after his release. He was released from jail in April 2016 after serving 10 months.
Debi also wanted it brought to everyone’s attention, Solicitor, Donald Meyers, 11th Judicial Circuit Solicitor, who has been arrested for DUI.
Debi had talked with him many times and recalls he refused to try the case staying he had no body.
“He stated he would not go in a court room for a piece of pie. It was the whole pie or nothing,” said Debi.
What doesn’t make sense to Debi is that later, Myers tried two murder cases without the bodies.
Years later, Myers was arrested for driving under the influence in 2005, and he plead guilty to the charge. In 2012, Myers was charged with having an open container of alcohol in his car after a Highway Patrol trooper stopped him for suspicion of driving under the influence. Myers was given a field sobriety test, issued a ticket and allowed to drive home. In 2016, Myers ran off the road striking a utility pole. Myers was later found at home. He was arrested and given a breathalyzer test with showed 0.09 percent blood. During Myers trial he was found guilty for DUI. Read more here.
But, Debi says that is not all he has done, “I’ve got much more to tell about our then Solicitor, Donald Meyers. He threatened The SC Victim’s Rights director and therefore she had to stop helping me.”
According to Debi, Sherrie Carney, the victims rights advocate that was helping her, received a call from Donnie Myers office saying, “You, and you get that woman off my ass, or I’ll take you for everything you own. She is a squeaky wheel, demanding oiling, and she’ll get no greasing from Lexington County.”
Debi also said that evidence was not treated properly either.
After more than 30 years, Debi longs to know what happened to her little girl, and hopes the authorities will open the case with fresh eyes and pursue leads.
“I’m beyond bitter, but I’m far from giving up on finding my daughter and getting justice for my daughter,” said Debi.
There is no absolutes with Jessica’s case. She could have been taken away and raised by another family and still be alive, and not even know her real identity. Evidently, the suspects fingerprint on the window is not absolute either as the police decided to do anything about it. The police know whose fingerprint it is and where it was found, so did they doubt he entered the home? I guess his confession in jail is not absolute, either. I guess his condition of immunity was non negotiable to the police. Did the police and prosecutors know something the public didn’t that kept them from pursuing the suspect?
If there has been any cases out there that deserve a fresh pair of eyes on it, it is this case. I am hoping that Lexington County Sheriff’s Office will take the opportunity to go over Jessica’s case and give it the attention it deserves.
Date Of Birth: December 3, 1981
Age at Time of Disappearance: 4 years old
Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 3’0; 32 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Brown curly hair; brown eyes.
Marks, Scars: Gutierrez has a scar on the top of her forehead and scars on her ear lobes from piercings. She has a brown-colored birthmark on her right buttock. She had a wart on her left hand at the time of her disappearance.
Clothing: Pink and white T-shirt, white panties
Agency Case Number: 8614106
NCMEC #: NCMC601626
NCIC Number: M-237601733
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