Jessica Jo O’Grady

O'Grady, circa 2006; Christopher Edwards

  • Missing Since 05/10/2006
  • Missing From Omaha, Nebraska
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Age 19 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8 - 5'9, 135 - 150 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A pink t-shirt with the image of a palm tree on the front, blue jeans and flip-flops.
  • Medical Conditions O'Grady may have been pregnant at the time of her disappearance, but this has not been confirmed.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Gray four-door Hyundai Accent with the license plate number PEI894 (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, hazel eyes. O'Grady has a tattoo of a palm tree on her lower back. Her ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance

O'Grady was last seen leaving the 5800 block of south 156th Court in Omaha, Nebraska between 10:45 and 11:15 p.m. on May 10, 2006. She told her roommates she was en route to her boyfriend's residence. She made a cellular phone call to her boyfriend at 11:48 p.m. She has never been heard from again. Her family reported her as a missing person after she did not show up for work, which is uncharacteristic of her.

O'Grady was a student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha at the time of her disappearance, and worked in a steakhouse. She had moved into an apartment with two female friends and enrolled in the university after graduating high school.

She kept in regular contact with her friends and family, and also sent them text messages from her cellular phone, but all contact ceased abruptly after May 10 and all calls to her cellular phone went to voicemail. O'Grady left behind all her belongings, including her pet cat, whom she was very attached to. She never picked up her last paycheck and she left money in her bank account.

Several days after her disappearance, O'Grady's gray four-door Hyundai Accent with the license plate number PEI894 was found parked near the Oak View Mall, near 144th Street and West Center Road, across the street from the restaurant where she worked. The vehicle was locked and there were no indications of a struggle in or around it.

After the discovery of the car, investigators searched the home of O'Grady's boyfriend, Christopher A. Edwards. A photograph of Edwards is posted with this case summary. He lived at his aunt's house and she gave police permission to search his room.

Inside the bedroom they found evidence that a crime had occurred. There were numerous bloodstains on the bed's headboard, mattress and comforter, as well as on some other furniture and on the walls, ceiling and laundry baskets. Someone had tried to conceal the blood by painting it over and by flipping the mattress so the biggest stain was on the underside. Inside Edwards's car in the garage was a dirty shovel and a pair of garden shears with bloodstained handles. The trunk was bloodstained as well. A trash bag containing bloodstained towels and a receipt from a local drugstore was in the garage next to the vehicle.

Authorities stated the blood was O'Grady's and the amount found made her survival extremely doubtful. The dirt on the shovel was tested and was found to be consistent with river valley silt. The receipt was for poster paint, white shoe polish and correction fluid, surveillance footage from the store showed Edwards making the purchase the night O'Grady disappeared.

In June 2006, Edwards was arrested and charged with O'Grady's murder. He turned himself into the police to face the charges against him. Edwards maintains his innocence in O'Grady's disappearance.

Investigators believe he murdered her with a Bangkok battle sword; O'Grady's blood was found on two swords, in one case mixed with Edwards's blood. Authorities theorize he killed O'Grady when she told him she was pregnant with his child; he was already seeing another woman and had made her pregnant in January.

Prior to his trial, authorities offered him a deal where he would plead guilty to manslaughter and lead them to O'Grady's body, but he refused to cooperate. Edwards was convicted of second-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon in April 2007. He was sentenced to 100 years to life in prison.

David Kofoed, the Douglas County crime lab director at the time of O'Grady's disappearance, was later found to have planted evidence in another May 2006 double murder case. He was convicted of evidence tampering and sentenced to two years in prison.

Edwards's attorneys appealed his conviction on the grounds that the prosecutor in O'Grady's case was aware of Kofoed's evidence tampering activities. However, Kofoed was not under any suspicion at the time of Edwards's trial, and there's no proof that he engaged in evidence tampering in that case. Edwards's conviction was upheld in January 2015.

In October 2006, O'Grady's loved ones held a memorial service for her. Although her remains have never been located, foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.

Updated 7 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 4, 2018; middle name and four pictures added.