It’s been more than a year since Nikki Brown saw her close friend, Jennifer Blackmon. “I got a call on one of my son’s birthday,” Nikki told Dateline. “Her daughter had called me, asking me, have I been in contact with her.”
That call came on December 23, 2020. Nikki told Dateline that she instantly knew something was wrong. “I didn't hesitate to think maybe her phone's just dead or none of that,” Nikki said. “I instantly started, you know, trying to search and get as much information as I can and, you know, helping the family nonstop.”
Nikki has been searching for her friend ever since. “I've been knowing her for well over -- my son is 21, so it's probably 22 years,” Nikki told Dateline. “She's been very close with me, you know all through these years, never left my side.”
Jennifer, a 35-year-old mother of four, was a notary public and headed to a job in River Rouge, Michigan, on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. She never made it. “She was a no call -- no show,” Nikki said.
That seemed very out of character to Nikki. “She always went to school and worked, like, that was just all Jennifer did,” Nikki said. “This is nothing that she would do. This is so unlike her.”
Dateline also spoke with some of Jennifer’s family. “I have seven children and Jennifer was the baby,” Jennifer’s mother, Mae Jackson Hamer said. “Jennifer was a very smart little girl.”
Jennifer’s father, James Hamer, told Dateline, “She did a lot of things for people – a lot of good things.”
“She was a bright person who wanted more for herself and her children,” Mae said. “She was loud and talkative, she was a boisterous type person. She spoke her mind.”
Mae told Dateline that she had tried to call Jennifer on Tuesday, December 22, but there was no response. Mae also said that she was supposed to see Jennifer the next day, Wednesday, December 23, 2020. “We had went shopping together and she was talking about coming down to wrap her presents.”
Jennifer had been going through a divorce at the time she vanished and she and the kids moved out of the home they shared with her husband. “She had got an apartment, which wasn't far, you know, from the house that she resided with her husband,” Nikki said.
Nikki told Dateline that something was wrong with Jennifer’s car that day, so she took it to her father for him to fix, and then borrowed her daughter’s car to do her work. Jennifer’s father, James confirmed this. “I told her to go park that car and get your daughter’s car and try to get to work,” James Hamer said.
According to a post shared by the River Rouge Police Department, Jennifer was last seen in the 500 Block of Frazier Street. Jennifer’s friend, Nikki, told Dateline that the car Jennifer was driving was found, but none of Jennifer’s belongings were inside. Jennifer’s family isn’t sure why she would have been in that area. They also have no idea where any of her belongings are. “We don’t know what happened to her phone,” James said.
Dateline has reached out to the River Rouge Police Department multiple times since originally publishing this article regarding the status of the investigation, but has yet to receive a response. No suspects or persons of interest have been publicly named in Jennifer’s disappearance.
Nikki told Dateline that the River Rouge community and Jennifer’s family and friends all joined in the search in the beginning, but so far nothing has been found.
“My whole thing is: This girl is still missing, you know. It's like people are starting to lose focus,” Nikki said. “My whole goal is to keep it going. Like, I've been studying, pushing a flyer on social media, talking to so many people, just trying, trying, trying.”
Not only are the Hamers trying to find Jennifer, but they said they are fighting for Jennifer’s youngest daughter, who had been in their care since Jennifer’s disappearance.
In February they had to return custody to the father. “I’m crying for my grandbaby,” Mae said. “I’m hurt. I’m hurt.”
Michigan Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the location of Jennifer Blackmon. They held a press conference in March of 2021, where Nikki and members of Jennifer’s family pleaded for someone to come forward with information. Jennifer’s mother said, “All I know is that my daughter’s not at home, that she’s supposed to be home.”
More than a year later, that’s all they still know. Jennifer is not home, and she’s supposed to be home. “I’m just not feeling well about her not being here. “I’m angry,” Mae told Dateline. “I want justice for my daughter. I want justice for my grandchildren. I want justice for me.”
On March 16, 2022, Jennifer turned 37 years old. This is the second birthday that has passed without answers, and without Jennifer. Jennifer’s brother, Aaron told Dateline they gathered to throw Jennifer a birthday party. But it was no time to celebrate.
Jennifer was last seen wearing a black trench coat with a scarf. She is 5’5” and weighs around 130 lbs. She has hazel eyes and her hair is dark brown. Nikki Brown said that at the time of her disappearance, Jennifer was wearing extension braids that were brown and black. Nikki also told Dateline that Jennifer has a scar on her bottom lip and on her right eyebrow.
If you have any information that can help bring Jennifer home, please call the River Rouge Police Department at (313) 842-8700.
EDITORS NOTE: Updated to include comment from Jennifer’s family.