Ann Burke said she still hoped her daughter, Jessica Lynn Lee, would return to her Brooklyn Park home despite being missing for nearly three months.
Burke said her worst nightmare became a reality Friday when county police detectives told her family that human remains found in Pasadena on Aug. 6 were her daughter’s. DNA confirmed the match, police said.
“Even when they found the remains, I hoped it wasn’t her. I never gave up hope until Friday at 11 a.m. when detectives came and told us,” Burke said. “I can’t believe she’s gone. I’m still waiting for her to come up the street.”
County police are continuing their investigation, spokesman Justin Mulcahy said.
Lee, 20, and her mother occasionally got into arguments. Lee would leave for a few days to cool off, her mother said. The last time Burke saw her daughter was May 8.
Every other time, Lee always would call after a few days and let her mother know where she was—except she didn't call this time.
When her family had not heard from her and she did not return, they knew something was wrong, Burke said. They made and posted fliers and tried to alert the media to spread the word.
Burke said she can’t imagine her daughter being at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, off of Ritchie Highway, where her body was found. Lee hung out at Shoppers Food in Brooklyn Park, where police said she was last seen, as well as Marley Station mall in Glen Burnie, and the North County and Brooklyn Park libraries. Burke said she also would ride the light rail.
A man walking through the woods behind Ollie’s on Aug. 6 found a skull, police said. Police later found the rest of the body after an extensive search.
Lee had a 16-month-old daughter, Maygan Marie. Burke said Lee was a wonderful mother who, as far as she knew, had no enemies.
“She was very loving, a wonderful mother, a happy-go-lucky girl,” Burke said, seated in the dining room as Maygan played in her playpen. “She wouldn’t hurt nobody, so I can’t understand why somebody would hurt her.”
Pictures of Lee fill the home. Burke said she is compiling a folder of news articles and videos about her daughter for her granddaughter, so when the child asks about her mother, she can show her granddaughter.
She is considering selling the all-terrain vehicles she and her daughter used to ride.
“I don’t have my partner,” she said.
And Burke thinks Maygan senses something is wrong because the girl looks at photos of her mother and calls out, “Mama.” Maygan also has been crying more lately and sometimes doesn’t want to sleep in her crib.
The family is considering setting up a trust fund for Maygan, Burke said.
“My family is looking for justice,” Burke said. “When they took my daughter, they took my heart and soul. When they catch him, I hope he rots in hell. I want to take his life because he took my daughter’s. She wouldn’t hurt nobody.”
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Detective Regina Collier at 410-222-3417.