Eye on Tampa Bay  follows up on
John Monti's search for Tiffany Sessions

by Gary P. Posner

Noting that "We in the media have, I think, sometimes a bad habit of getting people worked up about a story such as this, and then not telling people whatever happened," host Kathy Fountain devoted her January 27, 1992, Eye on Tampa Bay  program (WTVT-TV 13) to following-up on "psychic detective" John Monti's attempt to locate Tiffany Sessions (see our headline story last issue). Fountain added that "[some] people . . . thought, when they saw the [television] news coverage, that [Monti] had found Tiffany," the young woman who disappeared three years ago off the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.

Monti had claimed on the November 4 edition of Eye  that later that week he and Tiffany's mother would "take her [Tiffany's] route . . . from where she left the college to where she is." But when asked by Fountain if Monti had indeed taken her to where her daughter is, Mrs. Sessions answered, "No, unfortunately. . . . We walked around, and we took a route that he said that he thought that she went . . . but we came to nothing."

Fountain later said that her producer, Joyce Pearson, had recently telephoned Monti, and was told that "he's not through working with [Sessions] on this case," but that "the 'media circus' . . . interfered with his ability to concentrate." Sessions then told Fountain that "I received two telephone calls from his assistant last night . . . and that's the first time that I've talked to her since they left [on November 8]. . . . They claimed they had heard that I was going to be on a show today, and they wanted to make sure that it was going to be positive. . . . I haven't worked with him since he left." When asked if she would "pick up where you left off" with Monti, Sessions answered "No," but would tell him to "do what you have to do, and if you find something, call me."

A viewer/caller during the show, identifying himself as Jim Basile, the ex-police chief of Buckland, Massachusetts, stated that he had worked with Monti on a murder case, and that although Monti had indicated that the murderer was still alive, he was later found to have been long dead, "hanging from a tree. . . . [Monti offers] a lot of hopes, but his results leave a little bit to be desired."

Sessions noted that "Mr. Monti was probably the 25th psychic" that she had worked with in her effort to locate her missing daughter, and that she continues to work with psychics who come forward to offer assistance. But although she told Fountain that she believes her daughter to still be alive, she also said that every psychic, including John Monti, has told her that her daughter is dead. Yet, in response to further questioning, Sessions declared her continued belief that "John does have some psychic abilities," and added that her use of psychics has been a positive experience in the sense that "it gives you a different perspective, and it puts your situation in the cosmic universe . . . "

A particularly distressing portion of the discussion was joined by Ivana DiNova, director of the Missing Children's Help Center in Brandon. As a teary-eyed Mrs. Sessions listened quietly, DiNova told of how Sessions had called her several weeks earlier to report that she had just accompanied two Baton Rouge psychics to a field in Gainesville where her daughter's body supposedly lay buried. Shovel in hand, Sessions had dug holes, searching for her daughter's decomposed body -- just in case the psychics were right about Tiffany being dead. When 4:00 came and no body had been found, the psychics told Sessions that this was because, continued DiNova, "Whoever took her killed her, and probably has her in four different parts, and buried her in four different places in this field." Added Sessions, "They also told me that after they mutilated her, that they burned her body -- what was left of it. . . . The hardest thing is not knowing. And if I have to dig, and I have to try and find my daughter's body, that's what I need to do. But I'd rather be more positive and hope that I'm going to find her alive and she's just going to walk in the door one day."

Fountain expressed her disappointment that a "well-meaning psychic" would "say something so cruel. . . . I'm assuming this person is off the case." When asked by Fountain if families should consult psychics, DiNova said, "We don't recommend psychics. . . . [But] a good psychic who may have an ability to find a body, whether it's buried or wherever it may be, [should] go to law enforcement and take them there." But just before the show ended, a caller from Sarasota named Kelly, claiming to be a psychic who believes Tiffany is alive (the first) and in North Carolina, seemed to win Fountain's approval, and was encouraged to leave her phone number so that Mrs. Sessions could contact her.

This article appeared in the Spring 1992 Tampa Bay Skeptics Report .

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