New tips give family hope in case of missing Lewis Co. woman

VADER, Wash. -- Acting on new tips, detectives in Lewis County scoured a remote farm this week in hopes for finding clues in the disappearance of Kayla Croft, who went missing three years ago.

Detectives aren't giving up hope of finding Croft alive, especially after learning about this week's discovering in Cleveland of three young women who had been missing for a decade.

For the last several days, detectives have had their sights set on a farm south of Chehalis.

Neighbors in the area say the farm has been a notorious hangout for illegal activity involving drugs.

Detectives have been to the farm several times over the last three years, and they were back this week to look into several wells on the property.

The sheriff's department received independent tips that Croft's body could be in one of the garbage-filled wells.

But after two days of searching, the detectives came up empty.

Croft is still very much on the minds of the people of Vader, where her mother had lived until recently. The recent finding of three women in Ohio has given them new hope.

"It still leaves hope out there that they'll find her alive," said grocery clerk Robin Bull. "When I seen that story last week, the first person I thought of was Kayla."

Croft has been missing for three years. Detectives were originally told she disappeared on her way to a photo shoot with a website called Model Mayhem. They have since determined it was another modeling site, which they are now checking into.

While this week's search wasn't successful, detectives say they're not giving up on the farm. They want to search more areas and vow to continue until they find Croft.

"Somebody is going to talk, and at that point we're going to be able to bring closure to the family, to the friends and to the detectives who've worked so hard on this case," said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.

Croft's family isn't ready to give up, either.

"It was heartwarming," Croft's aunt, Karen Hinton said of this week's discovery in Cleveland. "It gave us hope that this could be a possibility for Kayla since she's been gone so long."

Hinton said the family is looking for closure, but what they really want is a homecoming.