Details of Disappearance
Kayla was last seen on August 11, 2009. That evening, she was with a 24-year-old friend, Kevin J. Kielcheski. A photo of Kielcheski is posted with this case summary. He drove her around her hometown of Antigo, Wisconsin and the pair allegedly smoked marijuana.
Sometime between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m., Kielcheski dropped Kayla off at her boyfriend's home in Wausau, Wisconsin, about a forty-minute drive from Antigo. He stated the house, which is across the street from the Colonial Manor Nursing Home, had all the lights turned off and it looked as if no one was home. Kielcheski never actually saw Kayla go inside it. She has never been heard from again.
Kayla wasn't reported missing for six days because her parents, who are separated, each thought she was in the other one's home. Her parents had a fairly open living arrangement for her and her younger brother, and they often traveled back and forth by themselves between one parent's house and another. Kayla, her brother and her mother had moved to Texas earlier in 2009, but the two children were homesick and after just three months their mother took them and moved back to Wisconsin.
Authorities initially believed Kayla was a runaway, and they stated her friends appeared evasive, as if they were trying to conceal her whereabouts. Police began to reconsider the runaway theory as weeks passed without any contact. Her boyfriend denied having seen her the day of her disappearance. He is four years older than Kayla and her mother didn't approve of the relationship because of the age difference. The house Kayla went to on the night of her disappearance had actually been condemned and its occupants had moved out while the building was being renovated, but it's unclear whether she knew about this.
In October 2009, Kielcheski was arrested and charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, a felony; this is related to substance use with Kayla on the night she was last seen. The charge was dismissed in July 2011, however. Kielcheski hasn't been charged or named as a suspect in her actual disappearance, and he is no longer cooperating with the investigation.
Kayla is described as a passionate gymnast who was looking forward to being on her school's team. She didn't own a cellular phone or a computer at the time of her disappearance and apparently didn't use the internet very much. She has no history of running away from home and it's uncharacteristic of her not to keep her parents informed of her whereabouts. Although there is no evidence of foul play in her case, her mother believes she was abducted. Her case remains unsolved.