Kidnapped Rory Cabot, who was actually her son, Johnny [Sep 2005]
Jennifer Munson, the product of an adulterous affair, spent her early childhood in the care of her mother, Barbara. Jen's biological father left town to avoid causing trouble in the Munson marriage and Hal Munson left Jen's mother when he learned she lied about Jen's paternity. Hal would re-enter her life a few years later, and adopt Jennifer as his own. From that point, Hal became the only father that Jennifer had ever known.
Jennifer's parents married again shortly after her brother, Will, was born. The marriage didn't last long, however, and Jen stayed with her mother but visited her dad often. Jennifer spent her early adolescence at boarding school, but enrolled in public school when her parents reconciled. At about the age of 17, after months of complaining about having no one to love, Jennifer met Bryant Montgomery and fell instantly in love with him. Unfortunately, when she learned that Bryant was leading her best friend, Abigail along as well, she immediately ended the relationship. Later, Jennifer's world was rocked when her mother announced she was divorcing Hal and marrying Bryant's father, Craig. Both Jennifer and Bryant realized that Craig was just using Barbara and they bonded over their mutual distrust of his father.
Soon after, Barbara was seriously burned in a bombing. Scared, Jen went to see her mother only to be rejected. Hurt by her mother's rejection and jealous of Barbara’s relationship with her half-brother, Paul, Jennifer rebelled and moved in with Bryant. It didn't take her long to see that Bryant was just like his father and when Jennifer learned that he lied to her, she moved out. She then instantly became attracted to his cousin, Billy Ross. Bryant and Jen reunited after Bryant relinquished his trust fund, but Jen still harbored feelings for Billy. Unable to fight their desire any more, Jennifer lost her virginity to him. They continued seeing each other in spite of knowing the harm they could do to Bryant. They planned to tell him, but he caught them making love earlier that day. After a confrontation with Jen, an enraged Bryant sped away in his car. He was subsequently killed after driving into a tree. Although Jen was saddened, she was more concerned about keeping the details a secret from Bryant's vengeful family, and keeping her relationship with Billy. Bryant's family did eventually learn the truth, but didn't take revenge against her. Sadly for her, she wasn't as lucky in keeping Billy. The pari grew apart as she refocused her energies on being a model, and broke up before she embarked on a several-month stint overseas. Soon after she returned, Hal disappeared and she was forced to raise her younger brothers, Will and Parker, with Paul. Hal eventually came back, and Paul told Jen of a gig in Tokyo. She thought it was a single commercial, and then learned the commercial was actually a full campaign, requiring her participation for a long period. Even though she didn't want to leave her family at such a difficult time, Hal encouraged her to go, and she did.
A few years later, Jennifer returned to Oakdale and visited Paul's crypt. Having quit modeling after a failed relationship, Jen returned home and, upon seeing Barbara, demanded to know why her brother died. Though Barbara kept insisting it was a plane crash that claimed his life, Jennifer demanded to know why he left Oakdale to begin with. Days later, Jennifer was shocked to see Paul alive! Relating how he'd survived the crash, Paul implored Jennifer to stay away from Barbara and told her how Barbara had paid his friend Dusty to seduce his fiancee, Rose, away. Though she couldn't condone Barbara's actions, Jennifer chose to stick by her mother and stay with her. As a result, she found herself caught in the middle between Barbara, who wanted Jennifer to stay with her, and Paul, who wanted her to stay away from their mother. In the ensuing months, Jennifer watched as Paul and Barbara's feud escalated with Will being caught in the middle. Tragically, at the end of the year, things would come to a head with Will, in an attempt to keep Paul in town, poisoning, Rose, who died. With Will sent to a mental hospital, Jennifer welcomed Paul's apparent "forgiveness" of Barbara.
Although she wasn't quite sure if she believed it, she did think it was best for Will if the family reconciled. Things would become complicated with the arrival of Barbara's new assistant, Jordan Sinclair, whom Paul immediately disliked. Although Jen was initially cold toward Jordan as well, she soon realized how nice of a guy he was and the two struck up a quick friendship. Unfortunately for Jennifer, the wealthy Rosanna Cabot also appeared interested in Jordan. Finally, everything came to a head the night of Barbara's big fashion show. Paul, convinced that he was being set up and ready to be ousted, cruelly confronted Barbara and told her that he'd never forgiven her for what she did to Rose and his plan all along was to ruin her and steal her company. As Paul railed at Barbara, he made a startling discovery—she was blind. With nothing left to lose, Barbara admitted that she had a brain tumor that was causing periods of blindness. Her secret out and the show seemingly cancelled, Barbara checked in to the hospital for radiation treatment.
At the same time, Rosanna was pleading with Jordan to marry her. Apparently the only way she'd secure custody of her adopted son, Cabot, was if she married Jordan. Although neither Rosanna nor Jordan knew why he was being singled out, it was obvious that someone was pulling the strings of his life and in an attempt to help Rosanna, he married her. The next day, Jennifer was thrilled that her mother had recovered but horrified to learn of Jordan's marriage. However, Jordan was able to calm Jen by assuring her that this was a temporary marriage of convenience. Things would get complicated very quickly though when it was discovered that Jordan was Cabot's real father and Jordan, who grew up in an orphanage, was the biological son of James Stenbeck.
The fact that Jordan was James's son seriously concerned Barbara who insisted that Jennifer end her relationship with Jordan, so James wouldn't end up hurting her. However, Jennifer refused to live in fear and stayed with Jordan, while Paul ended up with Rosanna. Fearing for her children's safety, Barbara tried to keep the couples apart, and colluded with James. Unfortunately, her efforts only met with resistance from both Paul and Jennifer. Later, Barbara would commit the unthinkable crime when she helped James escape from jail. Soon after his escape, James kidnapped Rosanna and Cabot. Although Paul saved Rosanna, Cabot was seemingly lost in an explosion. Distraught, Rosanna turned away from Paul, and she and Jordan turned to each other in their grief. Although Barbara tried to explain her actions by saying that James was threatening Will, Jennifer refused to listen. She also refused to accept Jordan's apologies for having slept with Rosanna.
Refusing to forgive Jordan, Jen began spending time with her sister, Nikki, who was very attracted to Mike Kasnoff. Unfortunately for Nikki, Mike was just getting over a relationship with Katie Frasier and didn't return her feelings. At the same time, Mike's friend, Henry Coleman, was interested in Nikki and begged Mike to help him win her heart. Both Jen and Mike were forced to stand by and watch two people go after someone who just wasn't interested. Throughout the course of several weeks, as Mike did some remodeling for her at BRO, Jennifer and Mike became closer and it was obvious that they were attracted to each other. Finally, after a few months of getting to know each other, the two realized their feelings and decided to pursue a relationship. Although Jennifer had doubts that Mike would stay with her after Katie Perretti returned, Mike swore that it was over between him and Katie. At the same time, Jennifer was trying to handle her new career and was shocked when Worldwide (which owned her Company) gave her a new manager--Craig! Although the two clashed, when Jen was worried she'd lost Mike, she ended up impulsively sleeping with Craig.
A horrified Jennifer just wanted to forget the entire incident, but Craig didn't make it easy by blackmailing her--he'd only keep quiet about her affair if she stayed at Street Jeans. Jennifer, though, countered by telling Mike the truth anyway. Weeks later, Jen was shocked to learn she was pregnant! When Jennifer told Mike, he surprised her by offering to raise the baby as his own. Although it was decided the truth should be kept from Craig, since all were convinced he'd be a bad parent, Katie accidentally let it slip out. Craig was determined to be a part of this child's life and made that fact perfectly clear to Jennifer, despite her protests. Unwilling to let a man such as Craig be in her child's life, others came up with a plan to run him out of town by framing him for drug possession. Jennifer and Mike then married. However, to everyone's chagrin, Craig would come back weeks later and end up marrying Rosanna in order to get custody of his child. Meanwhile, when Mike learned that Jen had known all about the plot to run Craig out of town, he left her. Although Mike tried to make amends with Jennifer, she turned him away, leaving him to be with Katie.
Soon after, Jennifer prematurely gave birth to a baby boy, the same day as a teenage girl named Gwen Norbeck gave birth to hers. Within a day, Jennifer’s baby (whom she named John Dustin) tragically died, though she insisted that wasn’t the case. At the same time, Rosanna (who planned to adopt the Norbeck baby) was left in a coma after being run off the road by Craig, who was then sent to prison. The pain of losing her child became too much for Jen and she turned to drugs. Fortunately both Dusty Donavan and Meg Snyder recognized what was happening and got her help. Afterwards, Jen confessed to Dusty, that despite the evidence, she still believed that her baby was alive. Doing some digging, he learned that Gwen Norbeck’s baby was born the same day as Jen’s—meaning he could be Jen’s baby. Dusty then asked Meg to help him get a DNA test done. To Jen’s disappointment, the test came back negative. Finally, four weeks after her baby’s “death” Dusty shocked Jen with the news that she was right. It wasn’t her baby that died! Apparently, Craig had switched the babies so he would end up adopting his own son. To Jennifer’s delight, her baby was returned to her. However, she was soon horrified to learn that someone close to her had known the truth for months—Paul! Paul tried to defend his actions, stating that was protecting her from Craig since without the baby there was no reason for him to reenter her life. Despite Paul’s pleas for forgiveness, Jennifer found his actions reprehensible and wrote him out of her life.
All that changed though when evidence suggested that, while out on bail, Paul committed suicide. Because of the things she'd said to him weeks earlier, Jennifer was devastated and felt extremely guilty for the harsh words she'd said. Weeks later, Jennifer was approached by a psychic who claimed to have been in touch with Paul. Although Jen was skeptical, the woman slowly convinced her that she was receiving messages from Paul. Later, the woman suggested that perhaps Paul was alive after all. Afterwards, Dusty discovered the truth and confronted Paul telling him Jennifer was better off thinking he was dead. After a scuffle, Paul went off to reveal himself to Jennifer. After their reunion, the police finally apprehended Paul and he was put in jail. Meanwhile, Dusty had gone missing. Later, Jennifer was horrified to hear Paul confess to his murder. Angry that Paul killed the man she loved, Jennifer demanded to know where the body was, but Paul couldn't give her an answer, leading her to wonder if someone else buried the body. Meg? Paul vehemently denied that Meg had anything to do with it, leading Jen to realize that Paul had fallen in love with her. Very shortly after, Paul unexpectedly married his co-conspirator in the baby scandal--Emily Stewart. After the jailhouse wedding, a photo of Dusty with the current day's paper was sent to Jennifer, proving that Dusty was still alive. Paul immediately recanted his confession.
However, there was still the issue of his previous crimes. Convinced that Paul knew where Dusty was, Jennifer agreed to drop the charges so he would lead them to Dusty. Weeks later, Paul finally confessed to Jen that he was using Emily because he believed she was the one who was holding Dusty captive. Jennifer helped laid a trap by telling Emily that she'd heard from Dusty. Jennifer then followed Emily out of town. As expected, Emily went to the farmhouse where she was holding Dusty. However, Emily realized she'd been set up and decided to march Dusty into the woods to kill him. Dusty got the upper hand and escaped, but so had Emily. Dusty tried to follow but ended up coming face to face with Paul instead. Although poised to shoot Paul (who he was convinced was in on the kidnapping), Dusty reconsidered when Jennifer arrived on the scene and begged him not to shoot her brother. A few days later, Emily was finally apprehended. With his ordeal over, Dusty asked Jennifer to marry him and offered to adopt Johnny.
Unfortunately things would take a tragic turn. Almost immediately after the adoption went through, Johnny became ill and was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. At about the same time, Emily discovered she was pregnant with Paul's child. Knowing she wouldn't be able to raise the child, Emily was uncertain about how to proceed since she didn't want Paul to raise the baby with Meg. Soon, it was discovered that stem cells from Emily's fetus could save Johnny's life. However, it was risky; Emily's baby could die. Emily took the risk and not only did her baby survive the procedure, but Johnny recovered as well. Grateful, Jennifer wanted leniency in Emily's sentencing and continually asked Dusty to either not testify against Emily or ask the court to go easy on her. However, Dusty refused since thought Emily should pay for what she'd done. While Johnny was still in the hospital recovering, Jennifer began to feel ill herself.
On the day that Johnny was due to be released, Jennifer was admitted and diagnosed with viral pneumonia. Although her Uncle Bob wanted to keep her overnight, Jennifer was adamant about going home. She had been away from her son for the first few months of his life and was determined to go home with him. Since Bob had been called away on an emergency drill, he placed fledging intern Lucy Montgomery in charge. Despite Lucy's repeated warnings, Jennifer checked herself out of Memorial, after signing a released that she'd done so against doctor's advice. Sadly, Jennifer's action would have fatal consequences. That very night, she collapsed. Though she was quickly rushed back to Memorial, it was too late; her heart had undergone irreparable damage. While Dusty insisted that she'd be fine, Jennifer got Meg and Paul to tell her the truth--she was dying. Realizing the truth, Jennifer asked Dusty to marry her. After a simple wedding in her hospital room, Jen bid a heartfelt goodbye to each member of her family. Later that night, after an imaginary dance with Dusty, Jennifer passed away in Dusty's arms.