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Documentary shines new light on UMKC student’s mysterious disappearance in 2006

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jesse Ross was just 19 years old when he went to a college conference in Chicago and seemingly vanished. Now, a local documentary is shining a new light on this decade-old missing person’s case.

When I Last Saw Jesse” tells the story of the Belton native's disappearance.

“He’s really, he’s just a regular, young adult. He’s got his dreams. He has his ambitions, and he is working hard," filmmaker Brian Rose said. "But he also likes to have fun and in so doing, he you know makes mistakes and sometimes makes poor decisions like we all do. We all turn out OK, and for whatever reason, there was a confluence of events that happened that night that resulted in Jesse not coming home and not being OK."

Ross went to Chicago in November 2006 for a model United Nations conference. He was last seen on video leaving the hotel conference room around 2:30 a.m.

“The last video we have of Jesse was outside the Sheraton. But once he went back in the hotel, there was no more video," said Sgt. Tony Rizzo with the Chicago Police Department.

Several hours would pass before anyone realized Jesse was missing.

“I definitely have a lot of sympathy for the Chicago police on this case because they were handed an investigator’s nightmare. You have this individual go missing on the last day of a conference, and the conference wraps up before he’s even reported missing," Rose said. "You have 1,200 students in attendance. There’s 1,200 potential witnesses, very few of whom are local to the area, who all immediately scatter by train, by plane by automobile, and it's Thanksgiving weekend."

Don Ross traveled to Chicago soon after his son was reported missing.

“We were determined to find him, but we felt like the wind come along and swept us up and we were totally out of control,” he said.

Along with prompting new tips, Brian hopes that the documentary will help people remember the young man with a promising future.

“If nothing else, my hope would be that Jesse himself is not forgotten," Ross said.

“When I Last Saw Jesse” premiers at the Kansas City Film Festival on April 14. You can find ticket information here.

Anyone with information on Jesse's case is asked to contact the Chicago Police Department.

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