Search continues for missing Mint Hill teen

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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MINT HILL, N.C. —

Mint Hill police pulled back crews late Tuesday afternoon after searching for most of the day for a missing 16-year-old girl.

They'll focus now on interviews and use Kayla Campbell's cellphone to try to trace her before she disappeared.

Police said crews have combed approximately 7- to 8-square miles in the past two days, searching in a pond, along a creek, and through woods in three subdivisions.

For her parents, Stephanie and Robert Campbell, the waiting is agonizing.

"We just love her so much," Stephanie Campbell said.

Kayla left her home around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

"She said it's a great afternoon to ride her bike," Campbell said.

Police said Kayla called her parents a little after 5 p.m., when she was supposed to be home, and told them she was on her way.

It was the last time they heard from her.

Now, they're just trying to remain hopeful.

"It's hard to even imagine life without a child," Robert Campbell said.

Kayla's mother said her daughter has battled depression and disappeared for a few hours in September, when they reported her missing.

But, she says, Kayla was doing better, and to be gone this long doesn't make sense to her.

"She was getting medication, she was going to a counselor and she was getting a lot better," she said. "She was a lot happier."

On Monday, police found Campbell's cellphone near a pond close to Pumpkin Way Drive where her mother said Kayla liked to take photos and hang out with friends.

Family members said they also found her bike and her helmet.

Mint Hill police detectives and the FBI are searching Campbell's phone and contacting as many of her friends and acquaintances as possible. They're also looking at the cellphone towers it pinged on to retrace her path.

The Campbell's neighbors and friends are handing out flyers with Kayla's photo and information, hoping that someone will have seen her and come forward with information.

"I just want Kayla to come home," Stephanie Campbell said.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been notified and a Silver Alert has been issued for North Carolina.

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