• Mom still holds out hope that missing Kadie Seefeldt is alive

  • A couple of months ago, Sholly Seefeldt had made plans to get her hair styled.

    Then she opened an envelope and burst into tears.

    Inside, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children had provided the latest age-progressed photograph of what Sholly’s only daughter, Kathrynn Sholly “Kadie” Seefeldt, might look like today at age 22.

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  • A couple of months ago, Sholly Seefeldt had made plans to get her hair styled.
    Then she opened an envelope and burst into tears.
    Inside, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children had provided the latest age-progressed photograph of what Sholly’s only daughter, Kathrynn Sholly “Kadie” Seefeldt, might look like today at age 22.
    Sholly had planned to get her hair cut in the same layered style as Kadie, who went missing from Independence 10 years ago this Sunday.
    “I hope this is what she looks like today,” Sholly said this week from her home in Buckner. “I hope this is the lovely young woman she turned out to be.”
    A mother still the tomboy who loved art and writing. Sholly believes very much that Kadie is alive and wishes every day that her daughter will knock on her front door.
    “Despite everything that has happened, it’s all gone,” Sholly said. “It’s all in the past. She’s a young woman now. I’d like to be involved in her life.”
    A strong mother-daughter resemblance is evident in the last photograph of Sholly and Kadie, taken at Christmas 2001.
    Like her mother, Kadie had blonde hair. Like her mother, Kadie liked vampires, watching “Queen of the Damned” the night Kadie went missing.
    And, like her mother had 20 years earlier, Kadie was showing signs of adolescent rebellion.
    “I could see a lot of myself in her,” Sholly said. “It’s almost like looking at myself in the mirror.”
    Inside a cabinet, Sholly keeps a bag with a few newspaper clippings about Kadie’s case, but mostly, it holds the works made by a promising artist.
    Kadie loved drawing, tagging her entire bedroom and leaving her mother “in awe of how good she was.” The young girl hadn’t usually performed well in school, but her last report card that Sholly got after Kadie went missing had all A’s and B’s for the seventh grader at Osage Trail Middle School.
    Sholly tried to put structure in her children’s lives while working many hours as a fast-food restaurant manager. Kadie often got frustrated with her mother, thinking she should be allowed the same freedom as her older brother, A.J.
    When Sholly and Alfred Seefeldt separated, Sholly and her new boyfriend, Bill, tried implementing curfews and asked their children to call when they were at a friend’s house. Sholly and Bill, along with Alfred and his new girlfriend, tried to function as a family “for the kids.”
    Several months before Kadie disappeared, she ran away from Independence to Buckner for several days. When Sholly went to pick her up, the two argued, Sholly telling her she was tired of looking for Kadie. During those days she was gone, Sholly believes Kadie got pregnant and that she was about four months pregnant when she disappeared.
    Page 2 of 3 - Kadie threatened that she would run away again. “The next time,” she told her mother, “you’re not going to find me.”
    Sholly said she tried being there more for Kadie. On Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002, they spent the evening watching movies together at their home in the 19000 block of 18th Street North in unincorporated Independence, since Kadie was grounded.
    When Sholly went to bed Saturday evening, Kadie asked her mother if she could stay up and watch the movie again. Around 1 a.m. Sunday, Kadie received a phone call and told the caller she wasn’t allowed to have calls that late.
    On Sunday morning, Sholly didn’t hear the stereo in Kadie’s room. Many of her new school clothes also were missing.
    Sholly initially thought Kadie had snuck out and would return in time for school on Monday. When Kadie didn’t show up, Sholly filed a missing person report with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, Oct. 14.
    “I look back at the things that she did, and I did the exact same thing,” Sholly said of her own adolescence.
    She pauses before continuing. “Except for...nothing bad ever happened to me.”
    Kadie’s case received very little media coverage – until the fall of 2011.
    Sholly said she believes the case at first received little attention initially because Kadie had previously run away from home.
    Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Audrey Kelley was assigned to Kadie’s case for several years. Law enforcement has questioned more than 50 people in relation to the case, which was reopened in early 2010 and is still an open and active investigation today.
    Among law enforcement agencies as a whole, runaway juvenile cases are handled differently now than they were 10 years ago, Kelley said.
    “I can’t speak for Kadie’s mother in the past investigation. I can only speak for the past couple of years that I’ve been working the case,” Kelley said. “I can tell you that we’ve worked extremely hard. We’ve done things that I couldn’t imagine doing back in 2002 because we have those resources available to us now. All I can say is that law enforcement has come a long way.”
    Although Kadie’s 23rd birthday is Nov. 7, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children still classifies her as an endangered missing child. And, despite her being an adult now for nearly five years, the center is still actively looking for her, said Robert Lowery, senior executive director of the center’s Missing Children Division.
    It’s not out of the question for Kadie to still be alive, Lowery said, citing missing children cases like Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck and Jaycee Dugard in which the children went missing for long periods of time and were later found. The latest bulletin from the center states Kadie might still be in the Independence area.
    Page 3 of 3 - “Even though we face those realities and we don’t want to provide false hope, we can’t ever give up hope because we don’t know what happened to Kathrynn,” Lowery said. “Kathrynn’s family deserves answers to know what happened to her, and I know they are desperately seeking answers to know what happened.”
    But Kelley said the Sheriff’s Office has no indication that Kadie is still alive, and officials believe she met with foul play. Last year, a search took place near Blue Mills and Twyman roads in eastern Independence, but no remains were found. That search drew significant coverage from Kansas City area media outlets.
    “There have been numerous sightings, but none of those have proven to be legitimate,” Kelley said. “The leads have led nowhere, so that’s why we have no reason to believe that she is still alive. We’re not going to say that she is deceased because we have not found a body.”
    Throughout the years, Sholly has followed up on leads on her own. She even tried going undercover to learn more about Kadie’s rumored involvement in prostitution and drugs, but Sholly – an ex-user herself – was busted during a sting operation and went to jail.
    Most recently, Sholly heard that Kadie had been communicating with someone online prior to her disappearance and that person talked her into running away. According to the rumor, they went to California for awhile where Kadie got a new ID before returning to Missouri in the past year or so with her two children.
    Regardless of what happened, Sholly said her daughter had planned to run away.
    Sholly isn’t the same person she was a decade ago.
    For a long time after Kadie left, Sholly didn’t want to carry on with life. In 2007, Sholly’s family moved from Independence to Buckner.
    “A part of me is dead,” said Sholly, who is on disability because of physical and mental conditions. “I’m detached from any kind of love other than my boys and my grandchildren. That’s the only kind of love I can give or feel.”
    In August 2010, Sholly almost died of health complications. A spiritual intervention, of sorts, happened at that time. Sholly, now 44, felt a reason existed for her remaining alive. She also was introduced to the music of singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, especially feeling drawn to his song “Living in the Moment.”
    “That’s the first song I listen to in the morning,” Sholly said, “because I can’t think about what has already happened – that’s gone. You can’t think about what is in the future – it’s not even here yet. So, you just take what you have in the moment and enjoy it.”

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