LAS VEGAS (KLAS)— Thousands of people go missing in Southern Nevada every year. It can be devastating for loved ones.
Some families never get answers as they continue to search for sons and daughters who have vanished. Yet, they still hold out hope.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Dinetta Stoball Hillard said of her daughter Deirdre’s disappearance. “I just want to hear her voice, and know, is she OK?”
“I want some closure,” Anna Asbury added regarding her son Johnthan Hall’s case.
Deirdre has been missing since 2019. (Credit: Dinetta Stoball Hillard)
Hillard hasn’t heard from Deirdre since 2019, and she’s spent every day since, searching for answers.
Asbury also knows the same heartache all too well.
“He wouldn’t have left everything behind,” she said of her son.
Hall vanished without a trace three years ago, leaving his job, his relationships, and all his belongings behind.
Johnthan Hall has been missing for three years. (Credit: Anna Asbury)
“I hope that he sees this story somewhere,” Asbury said. “If he is alive out there somewhere.”
Both mothers live 1,600 miles away in Mississippi but said neither time nor distance will stop them from needing to know what happened.
Dierdre and Johnthan are among the thousands we see in Las Vegas, shown on missing person fliers, talked about on TV, and searched for tirelessly with constant prayers for their eventual return.
Lt. David Valenta of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Special Victims Section said his team sees around 6,000 of these cases every year, and they are always working to bring the lost home.
“There’s always somebody looking,” Lt. Valenta said. “We do understand that every family we are talking to, that is their one and only case.”
However, as time ticks on, leads dry up and cases go cold, which means officers must get creative.
They use strategies like collecting familial DNA of those missing to connect clues.
“They can take that DNA and if anyone ever finds unidentified human remains … whether it’s six months or six years down the road, we can connect that,” Lt. Valenta explained.
This can make way for real results and help keep others from experiencing the same, excruciating pain, and the all-consuming feeling of not knowing.
“When I look at her, that’s my child,” Hillard said of her daughter, Deirdre. “She had hopes and she had dreams.”
Asbury said she wants her son to know she will always keep looking for him.
“Your mama will never give up till the day I die.”
Lt. Valenta told 8 News Now that during the pandemic, there were fewer missing persons, but now those numbers are increasing again.
If you have any information about Deirdre, Johnthan, or any other missing person in Las Vegas, contact Las Vegas Metropolitan Police at 702-828-3111.
Lt. Valenta said if you have a tip that needs to be investigated immediately, it’s best to contact patrol by dialing 311.
For more information about the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Missing Persons Unit at this link.