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Jennifer Bryan Judd Murder Still a Mystery After 32 Years

Updated: May 10

Jennifer Judd Murder Still a Mystery After 32 Years, killed May 11th, 1992 in Baxter Springs, Kansas.

Jennifer Dianne Bryan Judd was born on December 27th, 1971, in Baxter Springs, Kansas. She spent her entire life in Picher, Oklahoma, attending high school there. Jennifer graduated from Picher High School in 1990 and Justin Judd from Quapaw High School in 1989. On May 2nd, 1992, she married Justin Judd in Cardin, Oklahoma.

Justin had recently moved to Baxter Springs, KS, seven miles from Pitcher, Oklahoma. He and Jennifer settled into a duplex that became their home along Spring River. Justin worked about 5 miles away in Riverton, Kansas, while Jennifer remained working in Pitcher at a Quick Trip gas station.

Tragically, on May 11, 1992, 32 years ago this year, Jennifer was brutally stabbed to death in her duplex. On the day of her murder, Jennifer had errands to run, including preserving her wedding dress, returning movies, unboxing gifts, and other tasks. Her husband called her at 9 am, requesting that she bring his forgotten lunch to him. She never arrived. Justin Judd left work around 2:30 p.m. and headed home with his friend, Chuck Chance. Chuck made the frantic 9-1-1 call but was too distraught to continue speaking with the dispatcher, so Justin took over the call, and emergency services arrived promptly, but Jennifer was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jennifer had been stabbed 9 times, the killing blow to her left lung and had minor defensive wounds to her hands, according to authorities [defensive wounds statement is a quote from The Oklahoman]. She also had abrasions all over her upper body, including her face and head. The crime scene revealed no signs of forced entry, sexual assault, or theft. Jennifer was found in the kitchen with a knife blade from her own butcher’s block embedded in her body, its handle missing. The estimated time of her demise was between 10:30 and 11:30 am. The handle from the knife has never been found. The cause of death was labeled as “Exsanguination” from “multiple stab wounds.”

The Judd home where Jennifer was murdered.

Family members arriving at the scene were dismayed by the number of people present at the crime scene and their seemingly inappropriate behavior. The crime scene was compromised, and hairs were found that did not match either Justin Judd or Chuck Chance, suggesting a flawed investigation.

A week before her murder, someone had attempted to enter her duplex, leaving her frightened. Her husband said she hid behind the couch during the ordeal. She started receiving accompaniment from her father to and from work, but she never disclosed the full details of her fear to him.

Amanda Davis and Kae Lani Bryan, Jennifer’s younger sisters, are poignantly reminded of the countless life milestones their beloved sister has missed.

“We remember Jennifer every day,” Davis said in an interview for The Oklahoman. “I hope somebody will come forward – even if it’s small information – and go to the police. Our family grieves deeply every day.”

Amanda served as a teenage bridesmaid, while Kae Lani adorned the role of a flower girl. On May 2, 1992, their father, Dale Bryan, proudly escorted his eldest daughter down the aisle to wed her high school sweetheart, Justin.

Gary Allen, former Baxter Springs police chief and now a Cherokee County, Kansas said a friend of Justin Judd was a suspect. He was questioned but never arrested. Gary Allen said at the time of the slaying Justin Judd was cleared of any involvement.

“I think of her case often,” Allen said.

Jeremy Jones, a convicted rapist and murderer, was previously considered a “person of interest” in Judd’s slaying. He confessed to her killing, claiming they had dated in the past. Investigators believed the motive was unrequited love, especially since he lived near the Judds’ duplex at the time.

“I listened to his confessions while investigating the murders of Danny and Kathy Freeman,” said Gary Stansill, Craig County, Oklahoma investigator. “It fit his pattern of assaults and killings on women.”

Stansill said in the video interview Alabama investigators asked Jones three questions on behalf of KBI. “One question was why were there two knives used in the attack,” Stansill said. “He said, ‘One broke.’”

Mobile County, Alabama Sheriff Burch vividly recalls his interactions with Jeremy Jones. Burch spent extensive hours interviewing Jones in relation to a series of dozen killings spanning across Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana.

“He [Jones] knew details about Jennifer,” Burch said. “He watched her husband leave for work that morning.” Jones was also asked to describe the layout of the duplex and the location of Judd’s body, he said. “He drew an exact diagram,” Burch said, referring to Judd’s duplex.

However, Jones later publicly recanted his confession to the media. Jones had also asserted that he was responsible for other murders, including those of two northeast Oklahoma teenagers, Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible. These young women were the focus of extensive searches, yet their bodies remain missing, and Jones’ claims did not lead to any conclusive evidence. He currently resides on Alabama Death Row for the rape and murder of Lisa Nichols from Turnerville, Alabama.

The perplexing aspect of Jennifer’s tragic end is that it appears to have been a targeted attack. Despite the struggle in the duplex, nothing was stolen, not even her car, which was parked with the driver’s side door open and a sack lunch inside. The keys to her home and vehicle lay on the floor. Her purse was inside the home with nothing missing. Wedding gifts lay around the duplex untouched by a perpetrator.

Jennifer was well-liked in the community, and her murder remains a haunting mystery. This heartbreaking case continues to baffle investigators, leaving unanswered questions about Jennifer’s untimely demise.

Several years later, a “Justice for Jennifer” sign was vandalized twice, and a new sign by the Picher Booster club was and set ablaze, yet the culprits remain unidentified.

A $5,000 Kansas Bureau of Investigation reward remains active.

If you have information on this case call the Baxter Springs Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at 1-800 KS CRIME (1-800-572-7463).

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May 11

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