NO ONE GIVING UP ON KAYLA MOM QUESTIONED AS SEARCH GOES ON
Orlando Sentinel; Orlando, Fla.
Nov 30, 1998
By Kathryn Quigley of The Sentinel Staff
CLERMONT - Kayla McKean's mother answered questions for several hours Sunday as investigators sought even the slightest clue that might lead them to the missing 6-year-old.
Searchers again found no sign of the first-grader who vanished outside her home Thursday.
Lake County sheriff's Detective L.P. Brown said he and Elizabeth McKean, 26, spoke at length about her relationship with Kayla's father and the girl's upbringing. An FBI agent also took part in the questioning, the first extensive interview McKean has given to officials.
Investigators are exploring three possibilities: Kayla was kidnapped; she met with foul play at the hands of someone she knows; or she wandered off and is in trouble.
At this point, Brown said, each scenario is being given equal consideration. Kayla disappeared Thanksgiving Day from the Grandview Apartments at 840 Grand Highway. Her father and stepmother said Kayla went out to play about 9:30 a.m. and was gone when they checked an hour later.
Bloodhounds tracked the girl's scent to the edge of an overgrown field between the apartments and an abandoned parking lot.
No one has been identified as a suspect in the girl's disappearance. But no one - including members of Kayla's family - has been ruled out. Kayla's father, Richard Adams, and stepmother, Marcie, have been questioned extensively by investigators, officials said.
Kayla had lived with her mother, a telemarketer, in Casselberry. She began living with her father, stepmother and baby brother a few months ago. Adams, 24, said Sunday he was thankful to the hundreds of volunteers looking for the girl.
"All I can say is, I'm very grateful," said Adams, an aluminum installer. "I can't say how grateful I am to everyone who has come out and searched." Clermont police released a tape of Adams' phone call to police at 12:06 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Adams sounded calm as he told dispatchers his daughter was missing.
"This is Richard Adams," he said. "My daughter hasn't come back home yet. She should have come back home two hours ago."
On the tape, Adams calls to his wife to ask her for a description of what Kayla was wearing.
"We've been looking for the past half-hour," Adams told police.
Investigators said no one besides the family can verify that Kayla was outside at 9 or 9:30 a.m.
So far, investigators have found no one else who saw the girl playing by herself that morning. No one noticed her walk away. No one saw whether she was taken.
More than 100 officers from the Clermont Police Department, Lake County Sheriff's Office, FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are assigned to the case.
Sheriff's Office Capt. Mark Palmer said the search is expected to continue today. Volunteers are asked to report to the command center on Grand Highway, near State Road 50.
Searchers on Sunday remained optimistic as they tramped through weeds and muck.
They tied yellow ribbons around trees and pinned them onto their shirts and jackets as a symbol of hope for finding Kayla alive.
"As long as we don't have any evidence to the contrary, we can stay focused," said D.J. Stephens of Clermont, one of the main organizers of the volunteers.
"She could still be out there alive. We've got to believe she's out there somewhere."