Video: FBI joins search for missing girl, 12

  1. Closed captioning of: FBI joins search for missing girl, 12

    >>> going to hear exclusively from him.

    >>> but we begin with a frantic search in colorado for a missing 12-year-old girl who disappeared on sunday as she made her way to a birthday party . nbc's lee cowan has the latest.

    >> reporter: it was only ten blocks. barely a ten-minute walk from her home in greeley, colorado. but the birthday party 1212 -year-old kayleah wilson was supposed to attend --

    >> taking it day by day , trying to stay strong and positive and not go totally batty.

    >> reporter: more than 40 investigators, including agents with the fbi, have been searching all week. but have come up empty handed. they say there's no witnesses, no surveillance tape, and no new clues.

    >> about all you can do is put your head down, dig in some more and go after more leads, possibilities.

    >> reporter: the path she may have taken to the birthday party seems obvious enough. including a tunnel going under a freeway. it would be the only place she wasn't in public view.

    >> someone must have seen her. you know? but it's just sad that they don't know where she's at.

    >> reporter: a facebook page has been set up asking for prayers and information. and police have gone back to re-interview family and friends , just in case kayleah may have taken off on her own. but even that seems unclear.

    >> there wasn't any real conflicts, be no reasons that she would have left.

    >> reporter: her stepfather says kayleah did have an older boyfriend. he's 17 in fact. police say he's cooperating and is not a suspect or a person of interest .

    >> i'm just dumbfounded. i have no idea. it's total shock to me.

    >> reporter: for now, the mystery of kayleah's whereabouts remains just that.

    >> i just want her home, and safe.

    >> reporter: but the longer she's missing, experts say, the harder the mystery may be to solve. for "today," lee cowan, nbc news, los angeles .

    >>> let's get a check of

By
updated 4/2/2010 9:48:09 AM ET 2010-04-02T13:48:09

Four days after a 12-year-old northern Colorado girl disappeared as she walked to a friend's birthday party, authorities expanded their search to include places she was known to frequent, including a music store, library and shopping mall.

"We're hoping against hope that she's out there, she's safe and she is just a runaway," said Sgt. Joe Tymkowych of the police department in Greeley, about 60 miles north of Denver.

"But we have to try to figure all the possible propensities of things that could happen and pursue those leads as well."

Kayleah Wilson was last seen Sunday afternoon, when she left her Greeley home to go to a birthday party just across a busy highway from her apartment building.

Authorities have since gone door to door seeking information on her whereabouts and used dogs to comb medians, ditches and bushes along the highway for clues.

'A good kid'
Investigators also have interviewed friends, family and acquaintances and have found nothing to indicate she ran away, Tymkowych said.

About 60 police and FBI agents were aiding in the search for the sixth-grader, whom her mother, April Wilson, described as a "good kid."

"She never hanged out with the bad crowds," Wilson said Thursday outside her apartment. "She had her friends. She liked to hang out at the mall, go to the library — you know, typical kid stuff."

Wilson said she had no information on what may have happened to her daughter but wanted her to know, "We love you. We miss you. Just come home. We want you home."

Tymkowych said police have contacted the girl's father, who lives in California, and other family members to advise them that she's missing and may be contacting them if she ran away.

He says Kayleah had a boyfriend, who has been interviewed and is cooperating. He is not considered a suspect or person of interest.

April Wilson spent about 12 hours at the police station Wednesday, assisting police in the search, Tymkowych said.

The middle school student is 5-foot-1, weighs 145 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. Authorities say Kayleah has asthma and was believed to be carrying an inhaler. She doesn't have a cell phone.

Wilson said her daughter likes pizza and the color pink, and that her favorite band is called Celtic Thunder.

Ribbons worn
At Kayleah's school a few blocks from her home, teachers on Thursday wore purple and pink ribbons turned sideways to resemble a "K" for Kayleah.

Brentwood Middle School science teacher Mandy Skinner described Kayleah as a soft-spoken girl who often kept to herself but participated enthusiastically in group discussions and completed her assignments.

"She's a typical sixth-grader," Skinner added.

Kayleah's case is not the first missing-child case in Greeley. Jonelle Matthews, 12, disappeared on Dec. 20, 1984, and was never found. That case remains unsolved.

"That again was one of those situations where we were never able to establish if there was a runaway involved, or if it was an abduction," Tymkowych said.

FBI Denver field office spokesman Dave Joly said the FBI regularly provides help in investigating possible child abductions.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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