Great Bend — A Wichita coroner is awaiting dental records before investigators can determine whether a body found outside of Great Bend is that of a 14-year-old girl who hasn’t been seen since the weekend, authorities said.
Kansas Attorney General Steve Six scheduled a news conference this morning in Great Bend to discuss the case of Alicia DeBolt, who was last seen Saturday night getting into a newer-model SUV. The girl reportedly left home around 11 p.m. to attend a party with a 19-year-old man, and family members notified authorities late Sunday morning that she was missing.
Six’s office said no additional information would be released Wednesday night about the case. Today’s news conference was scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation regional office in Great Bend.
News that a body has been found has spread fear among some in the central Kansas community.
Tiffany Serna, who stopped by the DeBolts’ home with her 15-year-old daughter, Destiny Degenhardt, on Wednesday evening to bring the family dinner, said it makes her want to keep her own daughter close, makes her afraid to send her to school.
“You think I was strict before — it is going to be worse now,” Serna told her daughter, who was a cheerleader along with Alicia.
Destiny replied, “I guess it will be better than what happened to my friend.”
Destiny said Alicia had a wide array of friends, both older and younger. “She was nice to everybody,” she said.
KBI spokesman Gavin Young said the body was found Tuesday afternoon behind some gravel piles at a highway construction site on Highway 56 about five miles west of Great Bend, he said.
Dradeana Cartwright, a neighbor of the family, also said the girl had a lot of older friends.
“I feared for her. I did all the time. I prayed for her a lot,” Cartwright said Wednesday.
“She was a good girl, almost as if she lived beyond her age,” said Cartwright, adding that she has known Alicia since the girl was 12. “You know how they say, ‘Live every day like no tomorrow.’ She did everything with such maturity as if she was a lot older than she was.”
Serna said some in the community are upset that an Amber Alert was not issued immediately after the girl went missing.
The KBI issued a missing-child alert Tuesday seeking information on the whereabouts of Alicia.
According to The Great Bend Tribune, Alicia’s mother, Tammy Conrad, knew of her daughter’s plans to go to a party with the man, whom she described as a friend of her daughter’s. Officials said that’s why no Amber Alert was issued when the girl didn’t show up by her midnight curfew.
Alicia was to begin her freshman year at Great Bend High School on Monday, and family members told the newspaper she was excited about starting cheerleading. Holly DeBolt, Alicia’s sister-in-law, said Alicia also missed a high school booster club dinner on Sunday night that was important to her.
“It’s mind-draining and heartbreaking,” DeBolt told The Great Bend Tribune. “Not having any leads, it’s numbing.”
Serna told The Associated Press on Wednesday that family members have asked for privacy while they wait for news.
A prayer vigil is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday in downtown Great Bend. The organizers said the vigil would go on as scheduled.