KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It has been more than three months since Desheena Kyle's family last saw her. In this time, they are still finding themselves in square one, pleading for her safe return.
"I'm begging and pleading for the city of Knoxville to step up and use the resources that you have to employ more people to come and search for my niece" said her aunt Rita Turner.
The 26-year-old was reporting missing on June 28. Knoxville Police said the investigation into her whereabouts remain "very active and ongoing," but there have been no updates into her whereabouts.
As she sees headlines running of widescale searches for other missing persons, she demanded to know why the city and authorities aren't similarly escalating to do more.
"We see these efforts Summer Wells, we see the efforts with Gabby Petito... why isn't that happening for the Desheena? She deserves the same efforts," her aunt said.
So far, not a trace has been found after Kyle disappeared in her own backyard.
"I think it's a good opportunity for family to realize that people are listening and that they do care. I just wish there was more buy-in with all cases that happen like this," said Todd Matthews, the former director of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Kyle's family isn't waiting around, though. They are now putting their own boots on the ground to search for her -- with help from the community.
"Our family and the community will be moving forward with our own search efforts to locate the Desheena," Turner said.
They are also relying on community organizations to help spread the word and participate in the search.
"I don't know what was more important than that she's human...we are, you know, mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers. You know, if it happened to us, we would want all eyes, all hands on deck," said Aabidah Ruhi, a lieutenant with Protect Our People in Tennessee, or POP Tenn.
They are asking anybody who is willing to help in finding and bringing home Kyle.
"If you're able to assist with the boots on the ground effort and us locating her... please, please come out," Turner said.
On Thursday, the family and POP Tenn will meet at Dr. Walter Hardy Park off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Knoxville at 5:45 p.m. The official search starts at 6 p.m. -- and they say they need everyone's help.