KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Desirea Ferris has been missing for two of her birthdays.
“She should be home celebrating her 20th birthday with all of us and she's not and we don't know where she's at,” her mom, Patti Tam, said.
Tam bought two stuffed sloths, because Ferris always loved sloths. The family planned to go to a restaurant she always liked to eat at. Anything to remember that bubbly, one-of-a-kind personality.
Tam and Ferris’s stepmom, Jennifer Ferris, say their nightmare should have ended a long time ago.
“But there's people out there that just don't have a heart, no soul,” said Tam.
Caught between unwavering hope and devastating reality, they continue to search for Ferris, who’s been missing since the early morning hours of May 2, 2017. That was 651 days ago.
Desirea’s phone last pinged and was shut off around near 83rd and Hillcrest and that’s all the family knows.
The family has been through nearly two years of searching and tracking down those who were with Ferris that day. They say they’re going to stick with the facts and keep retracing steps.
“The facts are Keegan picked her up from Mark Arzola’s house and claimed he dropped her at 72nd and Troost. What happened after then? She just disappeared. So he has to know something more,” said Jennifer.
Robert Jason Keegan and Mark Arzola were two of the last people to see Ferris alive, according to court records filed by Liberty police.
Keegan is one of five people busted in a separate meth and weapons conspiracy days after Ferris disappeared. He told investigators he is a meth supplier for the Kansas City area. He’s facing 18 years in federal prison.
“Is he going to talk after that? Are we going to have any chance?” Jennifer said.
They are hoping Liberty detectives continue to push the feds to ask more questions.
Jalie Brinlee, Ben Clark, Frank Hundley, and Felicia Ward were arrested along with Keegan in the crimes. Tam and Jennifer say they became familiar with all those names after retracing Ferris’s steps.
Liberty police have never named any suspects in Ferris’s case. They told 41 Action News there are inmates in federal prison who may know her whereabouts, but have invoked their right to stay silent.
“They're more interested in their drug and weapon charges than finding a missing girl,” said Tam.
The family feels like her case has taken a backseat. So they go out and search tirelessly, hearing all kinds of stories about what happened.
“It’s like you have to decipher what is true and what is not. It’s really hard, it’s hard to hear the stories,” said Jennifer.
The family has formed a group of supporters called Desirea’s Army. They look and dig into tips so Tam doesn’t have to bear any more grief. The Bring Desirea Ferris Home Facebook page has more than 6,000 followers.
But still no one has spoken up.
“How can they look at themselves knowing what they know? Knowing the pain and heartbreak it’s causing a family. She should be home,” said Tam.
Keegan’s attorney, Susan Dill, would not respond to requests for information.
Anyone who has information on Ferris’s whereabouts can submit a tip anonymously to the TIPS Hotline.
Ferris is registered in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.