Virginia Grossnickle solemnly told a jury in Prince George's County Circuit Court yesterday that she and family members desperately searched her daughter's Silver Spring neighborhood last September, looking for clues that might explain Joanne Grossnickle's sudden disappearance.
"We were willing to do anything," Grossnickle said, her voice occasionally shaking.
Grossnickle's testimony came in the murder trial of Reuben Jackson Jr., 40, who is charged with kidnaping and murdering Joanne Grossnickle. The 22-year-old woman's body, with multiple stab wounds, was discovered Sept. 9 wrapped in a pink blanket in a wooded area in Cottage City.
Joanne Grossnickle left her parents' Frederick County home early last Labor Day because she "was anxious to get back to her apartment before the heavy holiday traffic," her mother testified. She was wearing mismatched flip-flops because the family dog had chewed on one of the mates and her mother recalled yesterday how she had joked with her daughter about her shoes. "She said, 'It really doesn't matter because no one's going to see them because I'm going to my apartment,' " Virginia Grossnickle said.
Authorities are not sure whether Joanne Grossnickle ever returned to her Silver Spring apartment.
Besides the murder and kidnaping charges, Jackson, of 3459 Minnesota Ave. SE, is charged with robbing Grossnickle's apartment on several occasions while family, friends and police searched for clues to her whereabouts.
However, fingerprint experts testified earlier this week that Jackson's fingerprints were not recovered from any of the objects that were moved in Grossnickle's apartment during her disappearance.
Jackson's left thumb print was identified on a yellow note that Grossnickle's mother left in her apartment after her disappearance, fingerprint expert Charles Felker testified yesterday.
In the days after her daughter's disappearance, Grossnickle's mother testified that family members went to the apartment on several occcasions and noticed that various items were missing.
Prince George's detective Thomas Jensen testified that an FBI report showed that hairs found in the blanket around Grossnickle's body did not match Jackson's hair.