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Strip Search

Jennifer Marcum's path ends and begins at Shotgun Willie's.

The FBI set up a meeting between Marcum's parents and Kimball, who said he saw her on the day she disappeared. They say he told them that she'd had a suitcase with her and was leaving for the airport, but he didn't know where she was going. Kimball, who is back in prison, refused Westword's request for an interview.

Ennis also refused an interview with Westword, but prison records show that Marcum visited him often, including on the day she disappeared. Guards told the FBI that she'd had an altercation with Ennis that day, and that the visiting room had to be evacuated. Although her car was found at the airport, there is no record of Marcum's ever having gotten on a plane.

With all of their leads dead-ending, the Marcums turned to Families of Homicide Victims & Missing Persons, a Colorado-based nonprofit started by Howard Morton, whose eldest child went missing in 1975. In 1996, Morton put together a poster of 71 murder victims and saw that 30 percent were unsolved. Five years later, he started the organization with sixteen victims on the roster. It's since grown to 243, including Marcum.

The group's mission is to find, support and empower families and friends suffering from a loved one's unsolved murder or longtime disappearance. The nonprofit has worked with a criminology class at the University of Colorado at Boulder to document more than 1,200 unsolved homicides in Colorado. It also helped secure the new billboard featuring Marcum's smiling face.

"I don't care if Jennifer was involved in drugs, and I know that she was, and I don't care if Jennifer was somebody's whore, and I know that she was. Nobody deserves to be murdered," says the 75-year-old Morton. "There's guilt in all of us that have lost a child."

But Marcum's parents are still hoping the real guilty party will be brought to justice.

"Jennifer fell through the cracks; she wasn't important enough. She was a dancer, she was an escort -- she wasn't important enough, and I don't think the FBI cared, period," Marcum's mother says. "It's all got to do with drugs and money."

Bob Marcum struggles with whether or not he should even be looking for his daughter, because if she's alive, she may be safer if she's not found. "I keep hoping and praying -- that's about all I can say," he concludes.

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