‘It’s a battle every day’: Twin sister, cousin speak on holding out hope of finding missing loved one

Anchorage police also emphasizing importance of reporting missing persons cases as soon as possible
‘It’s a battle every day’: Twin sister, cousin speak on holding out hope of finding missing loved one
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 9:19 PM AKDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2023 at 9:20 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As Anchorage police work on an open missing persons case for 37-year-old Jessie Tessier, the woman’s family has been holding out hope that they might come across a sign of the mother of three — or that a member of the public might flag them on information leading to her whereabouts.

Tessier, who was officially reported missing in May, hasn’t been seen since early this summer. She was reportedly last spotted in Talkeetna, leading her family to go on a search in the tiny town.

“I’ve organized multiple search parties for her,” said Tessier’s twin sister, Jacquelyn Maroney. “And we haven’t found hardly any trace of her.

“Every time I get a new lead, it just goes up in the air, and there’s nothing. I’ve even gone on camping trips, out to Talkeenta, trying to see if she comes by.”

Tessier’s family described her as a kind, loving, adventurous Alaskan — with a penchant for outdoor activities such as kayaking and fishing — but said Thursday that they recognized she had been struggling recently, especially since the death of her father three years ago.

“Even hearing songs or jokes that I know she would’ve liked, I can’t send them to her, because I have no way to get a hold of her,” said Maroney, who resides in Anchorage. “I have no way to reach her, I have no idea where she is. And it’s heartbreaking, it really is. I can feel the loss in my heart; half of my heart is missing.”

Maroney explained that Tessier has had brushes with the law, and was facing some personal challenges that needed to be resolved before she could be reunited with her children fulltime.

Still, she said, that doesn’t explain Tessier’s sudden departure.

“With the way she was going, she was going to have to start at the bottom,” Maroney said. “And my mom and I were both willing to help her, and work with her, and help her build her life back up.

“Our mother thinks she kind of had a bit of psychotic break, and that might’ve been what caused her to walk up and off the property,” she continued, explaining that Tessier also had issues with alcohol in that past and adding that she’s worried about Tessier’s mental health. “But knowing Jessie, and how much she loved her children and her family, she would never walk off like that, not in the right frame of mind.”

Home surveillance video footage shows Tessier, shoeless and without any of her belongings, walking away from her uncle’s residence near Mirror Lake in late May.

“You see her just kind of wandering off-camera,” said Tessier and Maroney’s cousin Meghan Maguire, who currently lives in Florida. “But it’s into the woods. She doesn’t have shoes on; all she has is the clothes on her back. And later her phone was found in those woods. So she just wandered away, and disappeared.

“I just really want her to know that she is loved,” Maguire continued. “Sometimes, I think, some circumstances in life can lead us to think that we aren’t important. And I’m all the way down in Florida, and have been worrying since she disappeared, because I want to know that she’s safe.”

As of now, Maroney is still leading the charge in the search for her twin sister as temperatures begin to drop and Alaska barrels toward the coldest part of the year. She said she’s worried Tessier may not have survived the especially wet and cool summer in Southcentral, let alone harsher conditions seen year-round in other parts of the state.

Their mother, she said, has already started grieving the loss of one of her daughters.

“It’s been so hard,” Maroney said, adding that one of the most difficult aspects of her sister going missing was celebrating their 37th birthday without Tessier by her side. “Even if she was to call one of us and say, ‘Hey, I’m okay, I don’t want to be found,’ we would accept that, accept her wishes. But we don’t know what to do. I almost feel like I’m grasping at straws.”

A missing persons notice from the Anchorage Police Department this past May lists Tessier at about 5′2″ and 120 pounds. She has blue eyes, and — at least at the time the poster was created — blonde hair. The department also shared updated photos of Tessier in July, with imagery depicting some of her tattoos.

Police said the search for Tessier is ongoing.

APD also said via email that it can’t share much other information about Tessier’s case, given that the investigation is active and ongoing. A spokesperson emphasized that in general, people should not wait to report missing persons cases, especially in the event of exigent circumstances, such as suspected kidnapping, violence or self-harm.

The department noted that it can be helpful if people attempt to reach any individual who appears to have gone missing before reporting — for example, contact jails, hospitals, or friends and coworkers of adults, or check friends’ homes, playgrounds, or parks for children — but again, emergency situations should be reported immediately.

“Don’t hold out the information,” Maroney said. “If you think you have something, please, contact one of us ... just knowing that she’s alive, and okay, would be enough.”

Those with information about Tessier’s whereabouts are asked to contact Anchorage police at 311 or (907) 786-8900. You can reference APD case no. 23-16892.

To access the Missing Persons Clearinghouse, the statewide database that tracks all missing persons cases across Alaska, visit the Department of Public Safety website.