Day 3: Traci Kegley's parents visit command center as search continues

Pittman interview [Full]
Published: Feb. 28, 2018 at 5:27 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 6:05 PM CST
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Kegley's parents, Steve and Linda Pittman, visited the command center Wednesday and...
Kegley's parents, Steve and Linda Pittman, visited the command center Wednesday and announced they were adding $10,000 to the total reward money. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Traci Kegley disappeared in 1998. Her vehicle and young child were found, but no sign of the...
Traci Kegley disappeared in 1998. Her vehicle and young child were found, but no sign of the mother has ever turned up. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

ELMORE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - The reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disappearance of Traci Pittman Kegley has been increased to $21,000.

Authorities are on day three of a massive search in rural Elmore County for evidence in the 20-year-old cold case.

Kegley's parents, Steve and Linda Pittman, visited the command center Wednesday and announced they were adding $10,000 to the total reward money.

Linda Pittman said they are nervous but also excited with how the search is going so far.

"Millions of dollars of technology is out here, and everybody has volunteered their time," Pittman said. "We're very proud of the effort everybody has put into this."

She said it's hard to not get hopeful, despite the years of disappointment.

"We've been up and down so many times in 20 years that I thought I could keep my emotions under control, but it eventually gets to you," she said.

Pittman said she wishes the people who care about Kegley could see the technology being used to find evidence.

Pittman said as the week winds down, it will be tougher to manage her emotions.

"I've been disappointed so many times," she said, fighting tears. "But they're doing their best. I know this time they are really doing their best."

Pittman said she felt better after getting to the command center, saying she couldn't sit at her office with everything going on.

"I just wanted to be here," she said. "I feel like I'm closer to everything."

More than 130 people searched a large area on foot Wednesday morning.

Elmore County District Attorney Randall Houston told WSFA 12 News there's a high degree of confidence in how things are going and that everything is on schedule.

Houston said the plan is to continue working into a fourth day Thursday, even if it rains, and to be done with the search by Friday.

The focus is on 300 acres of land in a rural portion of the county's Friendship Community that has never been looked at in connection to Kegley's case. A search warrant gives law enforcement one week to conduct their operation. A confidential tip during a Crimestoppers segment led to this search.

More than two dozen search dogs finished their work on Tuesday.

Kegley disappeared on April 26, 1998. Her vehicle was found with her young child still inside but the 30-year-old woman has never been seen since. Foul play is suspected.

Authorities are still asking for the public's help. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 215-STOP.

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.