Memories of Koesha Rodgers will always remain fresh in her relatives minds. She was a loving daughter with a huge smile that death simply can not take away.
Koesha was born on March 11, 1988 in Kennett, Missouri. She was the oldest of four children, born to Sheryl Crowley. She was raised by her mother in Caruthersville, Missouri. It was there that the sweet, lovely little girl was raped and murdered.
She was an average student at West Side Elementary School. She was as kind and shy as she was cheerful and adorable. Her cousin described her as a “mama’s baby”. The short, slim 11-year-old loved to watch cartoons.
Sometime on the night of August 22, 1999, Kevin Orlando Bess gained access to Koesha’s home. Koesha’s mother was not home when the vicious intruder entered the home. When she returned, she discovered Koesha was missing. Two months later, Koesha’s decomposed body was found in a tree line.
Nearly 1000 people attended Koesha’s funeral, where there was a closed casket. “My family hasn’t recovered from tragedy. We still don’t sleep at night, because she disappeared in the middle of the night,” her aunt Joyce said.
Bess had gone to the house earlier that day and asked to use the bathroom. Koesha let him in as usual, and then he left. He returned later that night and abducted the child.
When Koesha’s mother returned home that night she found door open and discovered her little girl missing. “Alot of people thought I had something to do with my baby’s murder but I didn’t. I cry when I think about it and they just don’t know how much it hurts,” she said.
Kevin Bess, who was found with Koesha’s blood on his clothes, was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Police say Bess had already been caught in an act of sexually assaulting a woman in a park in St.Louis.
Koesha is remembered as a smiling child whose favorite colors were pink, yellow and orange. She was deeply loved by her intelligent, respectful family. She wanted to become a teacher. Her favorite singer was Deborah Cox and her favorite movie was ‘Waiting to exhale’.