ELMORE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Law enforcement officials are securing 300 acres of land in rural Elmore County Sunday morning to begin a massive operation connected to the 1998 disappearance of Traci Pittman Kegley.
Kegley, then 30, left her home in Eclectic on April 26, 1998, and never returned. She was last seen at a service station on Highway 231 and Redland Road. The following day, Kegley's car, a 1993 Geo Storm, was found abandoned on Old Georgia Road (County Road 170) across from the T&H Grocery with Kegley's 2-year-old daughter inside; the child was unharmed.
Authorities received information from confidential sources that triggered this search. Elmore County District Attorney Randall Houston said this is not a previously investigated tip, and it has been developing since a 2015 CrimeStoppers segment aired as authorities worked to verify and track down information.
Law enforcement officials believe they will find evidence that could breathe new life into this 20-year-old cold case. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is the lead, with 18-20 other agencies involved.
Sunday afternoon, authorities gave an update on the investigation and the search process. According to Houston, the search is expected to conclude Friday, and they have a plan for each day.
"If there is any evidence, we will find it," Houston said.
Houston said dog teams will begin searching Monday and there will be an update every day about the progress of the search. Houston also said he believes the people responsible for Kegley's disappearance are still in Elmore County.
When they look over their shoulder, they're gonna see us coming," he said.
Kegley's parents, have relentlessly searched for their daughter following her disappearance. A year after Kegley's disappearance, they sat down with WSFA 12 News (see interview above). At the press conference Sunday afternoon, the Pittmans said they will be on "pins and needles" this week as they wait for information. They also said Kegley's daughter, the child found in her abandoned car, is doing great, and it would mean a great deal to her to find her mother.
Over the course of two decades, law enforcement officials have followed tips, executed special searches and those who were close to Kegley even solicited the guidance of mediums with hopes of bringing light to a case that still haunts Elmore County.
Authorities confirm resources from across the country are involved in this unprecedented operation.
Gov. Kay Ivey issued a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disappearance of Kegley. CrimeStoppers is also offering an additional $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case.
If you have any information involving the disappearance of Traci Kegley, please call CrimeStoppers at 334–215-STOP.