Missing, but not forgotten: Harvest community still seeks answers about Jennifer Powers

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - At a vigil on Thursday, community members made it clear they will not give up the search for Jennifer Powers or answers about what happened to her. July 12 marks 10 years since she went missing.

At Liberty Baptist Church in Huntsville, family members, friends, and people who cared about Jennifer Powers gathered to remember her life and renew the request for anyone who can help the investigation into her disappearance to come forward.

"What we are asking is for you to think about it. Think back to that time," said Deb Jansons, who helped organize the vigil. "I don't know if it was a thought, a word, a movement, or something you thought you saw. Tell the authorities. It may mean nothing to you, but it can be the thread that puts this together for them."

The Investigation

Powers was last seen at her house on Granto Road on July 12, 2008. She has since been declared legally deceased by the Probate Judge of Madison County.

Deputies believe she was the victim of a homicide. She left home, officials say, without necessary items like her purse or her medication.

At the vigil Thursday, Katelyn Vann told the group her mother would not just get up and leave.

"Something happened to her," she said. Would you leave without saying goodbye? I know my mom wouldn't."

Powers' disappearance has come back into light recently as deputies came back to her former home on Granto Road to search. They have twice brought digging equipment and excavation tools to the home in the past year, and they have not released what they found there. Deputies have said the findings are undergoing a forensic evaluation and the department has not yet received a report.

But investigators won't give up.

"There's not a day that goes by FOR Investigator Andrews and other members of the investigation team, that Jennifer Powers does not cross their mind," said Lt. Donny Shaw, Madison County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer. "They'll open up the case files, and they'll make sure there's not something that they've missed."

He added, "What I want to say is that I believe, and investigator Andrews believes, and the others do too, that somebody knows what happened with Jennifer Powers was and where her last place or her resting place is. Somebody knows that. And we want you to come forward and give us that information."

Shaw said the sheriff's office will continue to go where the investigation leads, and it will not stop looking for clues.

Powers Remembered

At Thursday's vigil, Katelyn said her mom was their biggest supporter growing up.

"She loved us more than life itself," she said.

She detailed all the things her mother missed since she went missing ten years ago, from graduations to her daughters' first heartbreaks, to their proms.

"She missed all the good and the bad things I went through these last ten years," she said tearfully.

She said she wanted to be the first to say, no matter how difficult it is and how long it took her to get to the realization, that she forgives the person who is behind her mother's disappearance.

"I forgive whoever took my mother away from me. Because I can not be the one to judge them," she said. "I need to be the one who prays for them." She later added, "Please continue to pray for me, my family, the members of law enforcement, and whoever did this. Because they need it the most."

WHNT News 19 also spoke with Jessica Rikard, Powers' former sister-in-law. We met at Granto Road, close to where Powers was last seen.

"It's hard. The house behind us, I can almost just see her walk out like the last time I saw her," said Rikard. "Thinking about the last day I saw her, I wish I knew that would be the last time."

Rikard said her brother was once married to Powers, so as a child she would play with Powers' daughter, Brittany, and grew close to the family over her young life.

"I would say we would see her at least once every two weeks," she said. "I remember her smile and the way she was dedicated to her kids and to her family."

Brittany passed away in 2013. Her mother was not there during her final hours. Rikard said it's a promise to Brittany that keeps her going in the search for answers.

"She made us promise her, basically, when she was passing away, that we wouldn't let anybody forget about her mom," she stated. "There's still people out there who know something. Nobody deserves to go missing and never be found."

At the vigil Thursday, Deb Jansons said the people gathered there are proof that the community has not forgotten about Jennifer Powers. Even after the candles are cleaned up and the chairs put away, they will not stop fighting for the truth.

"We need her family and everybody, anybody to remember, she's not forgotten. They're not forgotten. One way or the other, we are going to run our mouths until that child is brought home so that her mother and her daughter know where she is."

There is a $10,000 reward offered to anyone who can offer information that leads to an arrest or closure in the case. Contact the Madison County Sheriff's Office's Investigator Ken Andrews (256) 533-8866 or call the non-emergency number to dispatch at (256) 722-7181.