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It has been more than two years since Jenna Van Gelderen vanished from her family’s home in Atlanta, Georgia, and authorities still have no conclusive theories about what happened to the missing 25-year-old.
At the time of her disappearance, Jenna was housesitting for her parents, Leon Van Gelderen and Roseanne Glick, and taking care of the family’s elderly cat, Jessie. On the morning of Aug. 19, 2017, a veterinary nurse arrived at the home to administer an injection to Jessie, but when he knocked on the door, no one answered.
The nurse called Jenna’s older brother, Will Van Gelderen, who came over to let him inside. According to Will, the doors of the house were locked, and the lights and TV had been left on. Will found no trace of his sister, and her handbag, cell phone and car were also gone.
Another item missing from the Van Gelderens’ Druid Hills home was a large Egyptian tapestry that hung in the living room, according to Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta. The heavy textile was stolen from its frame, which was then replaced back on the wall. It would have taken at least two people to remove the frame from its spot, said the family.
The tapestry was of sentimental value and had little monetary worth, leading the Van Gelderens to question why a thief would have targeted it.
“It’s the strangest part of this case,” Leon told “Searching For,” an original series on Oxygen.com, adding that police told him they “had never seen anything like it.”
Did someone believe the textile was more than it was worth, or were they trying to stage the scene to make it look like a robbery had occurred? Unfortunately, this is just one of the many mysteries surrounding Jenna’s disappearance.
The tapestry remains missing to this day, and although a relative of the Van Gelderens spotted an identical tapestry for sale online, it ended up being a different piece.
After surveying the house on Aug. 19, Will called his parents, who were vacationing in Canada. Leon and Roseanne told “Searching For” that they immediately returned to the U.S. out of concern for Jenna — they knew she would never leave their cat unattended and feared something had happened to their daughter.
Once back home, Leon and Roseanne noticed several odd things about the scene that led them to believe Jenna had not left of her own accord. Her cell phone charger, makeup bag and sneakers were still inside the home, which they say was unlike their daughter.
The prior year, Jenna had been diagnosed with high-functioning autism, and one of the symptoms of her condition was a reliance on routine. That meant Jenna would have never left without her personal items, according to Leon and Roseanne.
The last time anyone heard from Jenna was around 2 a.m. on Aug. 19, when she texted a friend that she was going to lie down. Two weeks later, her dark blue 2010 Mazda 6 sedan was found parked along a road in northwest Atlanta, reported NBC News.
The car was unlocked, and Jenna’s handbag, suitcase and clothing were inside. The driver seat, however, had been pushed back, indicating a taller person than Jenna might have been driving the car, Dekalb County Police Department Capt. Anthony Ford told “Searching For.”
Police found no further evidence inside Jenna’s car, and there have been no reported sightings of her since August 2017, said Capt. Ford.
Jenna was last seen possibly wearing a green T-shirt with “San Antonio” on the front, a black tank top and black yoga pants. She is 4 feet, 11 inches tall, and weighs approximately 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
If you have any information in connection to her case, please contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477 or the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Tip Line at 1-800-579-8477. Crime Stoppers and the Van Gelderen family are offering a combined $50,000 reward for information regarding Jenna’s disappearance.
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An original series that dives into disappearances across the U.S., "Searching For" hopes to raise awareness about the victims' cases and seeks help from their communities through local town hall screenings. Join the discussion and connect with other viewers.