Authorities target area in south Kansas City in search for missing Belton girl Kara Kopetsky

Watch the Videos Above to See Interviews with Kara Kopetsky's Mother and with the Belton Police Department

BELTON, Missouri - A day before her 21st birthday, the search for missing Belton girl Kara Kopetsky resumed with a reinforced intensity Wednesday.

About 40 officers from the Belton Police Department, along with Kansas City police and the FBI, performed another targeted search in the hunt for clues in Kara’s disappearance.

Sgt. Brad Swanson, with Belton police, said the latest search targeted a 10 square block area centered along Elm Avenue between 89th Street and 90th Terrace in southern Kansas City, near the Raytown border.

Rhonda Beckford, Kara’s mother, says her family got a call Tuesday night that search teams would target the area.

“I was not told whether it was a tip or what it was that led them to that location,” Beckford said in a live interview with Russ Ptacek Wednesday on NBC Action News Midday. 

Swanson, addressing media during a news conference from the search area, said new developments led them to the sparsely-wooded area, and authorities had known about it for several days, but “were waiting for the right time” to begin the search.

Authorities said they concluded their search for the day just after noon Wednesday and may go back to the area if the ground improves.

Kara, 17 at the time, went missing on May 4, 2007. She was last seen leaving Belton High School and has not been heard from since.

“If my daughter comes home alive, in my opinion, it would be a miracle, because I think something very bad happened on May 4, 2007,” Beckford said Wednesday. “I believe she was the victim of something very heinous.”

Last April, authorities from Belton and the FBI spent two days in a targeted search of an area near 155th Street and US 71 in southern Kansas City, though no new information or leads were discovered.

Last year's search was the first public involvement in the case from the FBI, which authorities said at the time had only been involved 'behind-the-scenes' previously.

Swanson said the national attention the case has garnered, along with the local coverage, has helped the case stay active, adding a week doesn’t go by without tips coming into their department.

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