The disappearance of Jessica Garino: a search for the truth
UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. - Jessica Garino was 21 years-old when she disappeared from Goldsboro, North Carolina in 2012. The youngest of three sisters, she grew up in Unicoi County, Tennessee.
"Spunky, fun...everybody loves her, " says Jessica's sister Ashley Tharaldson.
"She's a free spirit, loved life," says Jessica's mother Lisa Harwood.
"She never knew a stranger. Every time that we were with her, she always had someone new that she was introducing us to," says Jessica's sister Krystina Kegley.
Jessica did well in school, and she enjoyed spending time with her friends and family..
"She really wasn't a trouble maker, she had a lot of friends, always busy," Harwood says.
When Jessica began a relationship with a 52 year-old man named Carson Cameron, her family expressed concern.
"I just thought it was kind of weird that he'd be hanging around with somebody so young. A young pretty girl, you know, what was his intentions?" Harwood says.
"Instantly bad vibes...you could tell that he was strung out, was no good for Jessica," Kegley says.
"We tried to steer her from trying to hangout with him I guess, he tried to steer her from associating with us," Tharaldson says.
Jessica moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina and began living with Cameron...but she still kept in daily contact with her family by phone. Her last contact with family was in late January 2012, with her sister Ashley.
"She was telling me that she didn't get paid until the next week, and her phone would be out of time," Tharaldson says.
After no one had heard from Jessica for a couple weeks, her family filed a missing person's report with the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. Jessica's disappearance was also reported to the Erwin Police Department.
"We attempted to assist from a distance. We contacted TBI and the investigation led more into North Carolina, and they put us in touch with North Carolina State Bureau of investigation," says Chief Regan Tilson of the Erwin Police Department.
Investigators asked Carson Cameron about the last time he saw Jessica.
"His statement was that she just left abruptly in the middle of the night, leaving personal belongings, things that were very important to her," Chief Tilson says.
Jessica's roommates tell a different story, saying Jessica and Cameron left together, were gone for a few days, and Cameron returned...alone.
"Having two different stories and not knowing the truth, especially after this long, it's heart breaking," Kegley says.
After further investigation, Jessica's food stamp card showed it was used for about a month after she disappeared. Records also show that it was used in the Charleston, South Carolina area and back in Goldsboro as well.
"I don't think that it was her using those cards, or that card, traveling the way that it did, I don't think that it was her, only because if it was her, I would have heard from her," Tharaldson says.
Jessica was gone without a trace; investigators have had few leads since Jessica's disappearance. They say Cameron has refused to speak any further about Jessica's disappearance.
"Carson Cameron has been less than cooperative during the investigation. He has been arrested on other charges during the investigation and still refuses to cooperate with investigators in the case," Chief Tilson says.
We asked Jessica's family if they believe Carson Cameron has anything to do with Jessica's disappearance.
"I have reason to believe that, yes," Kegley says.
"He knew her every move...there's no way I believe he let her just get up in the middle of the night and walk out, no way," Tharaldson says.
"I know he knows something, I know he knows something," Harwood says.
Jessica's family and investigators urge anyone with information on her whereabouts to contact the Erwin Police Department or Jessica's family this Facebook link: .
"She has a family that loves her...and no one can fathom the pain of not knowing what has happened to their loved one. We just want her home...just bring her home," Kegley says.