Jesse Alvin Work

Jesse, circa 1959

  • Missing Since 02/06/1959
  • Missing From Hemet, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 09/13/1938 (85)
  • Age 20 years old
  • Height and Weight 6'3, 145 pounds
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Convertible car (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Blond hair, green eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Jesse was last seen in Hemet, California late at night on February 6, 1959. He disappeared with his fifteen-year-old girlfriend, Joyce Ramsey. Jesse was an apprentice lather and Joyce was a student at Riverside High School.

They were last seen when a friend dropped them off after a party. The next day, Jesse's convertible was found abandoned on a dirt road near Hemet.

Frank Phillip Kretz Jr. later confessed to murdering the couple. The killings had been part of an eight-hour crime spree where Kretz shot at his ex-wife and missed, assaulted her roommates and stole their car, car-jacked another man's vehicle, and raped a woman after tying up her husband. Kretz was sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 1964, but jailed again for parole violation in January 1970.

Kretz confessed to the murders and led police to Joyce's body in February 1971; it was in a shallow grave in the remote Mud Hills area four miles north of Indio, California. He said Jesse's body was buried along Highway 74 between Hemet and Idyllwild, California, but when authorities searched for it they didn't find any evidence.

Kretz was convicted of first-degree murder in 1972 and died in prison in August 1996. Jesse's body has never been found, but foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Riverside County Sheriff's Office 951-955-2777

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 9, 2019; middle name added.