MINT HILL, N.C. - Police officers and sheriff's deputies were back at a pond in Mint Hill on Wednesday where a 16-year-old girl may have disappeared Sunday.
Mint Hill police brought a series of pumps to the pond off Pumpkin Way near Interstate 485 and began draining the pond, where they had found a bicycle and cellphone Monday belonging to Kayla Campbell.
Several massive pumps started draining the water in the early afternoon. By 6 p.m., Eyewitness News observed officers in biohazard suits walking into the muck.
Campbell was last seen in the area Sunday, and since then, police and volunteers have launched an all-out search for her.
A local company has donated multiple billboards to show Kayla Campbell's picture and publicize her disappearance. The billboards are going up around Charlotte on Wednesday night.
"I'm Kayla's aunt and all I can say is that police are doing all they can to find my niece," Renee Boger said Wednesday.
Campbell's mother, father and sister were also at the pond, but did not comment on the search.
They were hardly alone.
Neighbors and friends had gathered on a December morning that looked and felt like cold steel and spent several hours searching on their own.
"I just don't think I could sit in my house and not do anything, so whether I'm looking to the right, looking to the left, I'm looking for her," Kristie Carpenter said.
Kent Bailey was there because his daughter knows Campbell.
"We went way out into the woods, didn't find anything in particular. The clues that we thought could be clues, the police came and took a look at," Bailey said.
When their search turned up nothing, many of those friends stood on the bank of the pond and watched the draining operation, praying that it turns up nothing.
"We don't think there's anything there, we're just trying to keep up hope," Rodney Benfield said.