KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man has spent months looking for clues to lead him to a missing teen out of Liberty, Missouri.
“I’m not a cop. It’s not my business to figure out the case. I just want to find the girl. That’s it,” he said.
The man, who wants to be identified as ‘Spike,’ said he is out every day looking for Desirea Ferris.
He’s not related to the 18-year-old. He’s never seen her face other than on a missing person flier.
“If my kid was disappeared and gone, I’d want somebody out there doing it,” he said.
Spike told 41 Action News he heard about Ferris's disappearance and reached out to her family.
Ever since then, they’ve formed a small army, tirelessly searching for the teen.
The Ferris family believes someone is responsible for her death.
Who was Desirea with that night?
The Liberty Police Department hasn't charged anyone in the teen's disappearance, and they still say she’s missing.
Spike has gathered a list of names of people Ferris was associated with before she went missing.
Those people have told him a variety of scenarios, but he said none of them will say where she is.
41 Action News went with Spike and one of his friends to confront a man they believe has information about what happened to Ferris.
The man, who did not want to be identified, said she is dead but said he had nothing to do with it.
Where was Desirea that night?
“These are the locations of Desirea’s pings through the night,” Spike said, running through a list of addresses from her cell phone records, given to him by the teen's family.
Those pings brought countless searches to the areas around Blue River and Grandview Roads by Spike and the Ferris family.
Each search has turned up nothing but more heartbreak.
Spike said the pings also opened up his eyes to ‘trap houses’ or vacant homes where drugs can be sold.
Ferris's pings show she was at three abandoned homes the night before and the night she went missing -- near 83rd and Hillcrest Road, 93rd and Grandview Road, and 27th Terrace and Oakley in Kansas City, Missouri.
House located on the 5600 block of E. 27th Terrace in KCMO where a cell phone ping tracked Desirea Ferris.
“We broke up three drug sales in less than a week,” Spike said of one property.
Ferris's phone pinged at the house on 27th Terrace on May 1.
41 Action News went to the house. It’s dilapidated and the backyard appears to have been dug up. It’s on a block where the majority of homes are boarded up.
“This area is known for drugs and meth,” a neighbor named Pat told 41 Action News. She wanted to be identified by her first name.
Pat told 41 Action News people are always in and out of the house, which is two doors down from her.
She said the constant noise keeps her up at night, fearing for her safety.
“My daughter pulled up one night, and one of the guys pulled up right beside her and asked what she needed,” Pat said. “Don’t nobody just pull up to a car and ask, ‘Whatcha need?’ So there was some drug activities going on there.”
After hearing about Ferris, Pat said she’ll help any way she can.
“That could be my 18-year-old daughter,” she said.
Spike and the Ferris family said although the teen hung out with people involved in drugs, they do not believe she died of a drug overdose.
“She got tangled up into this in an area she should have never been in,” Spike said.
Ferris's very last cellphone ping was at 4:11 a.m. on May 2, Spike said.
After that, her phone and social media activity stopped.
That ping was at a once-beautiful property tucked away near 83rd and Hillcrest in Kansas City.
“It’s so secluded you can’t tell,” Spike said.
The home looks like it’s been rummaged through. Various personal items are strewn across a bedroom. But there's no sign of the teen.
The bigger problem
City officials said many times drug houses fly under the radar because of the sheer number that exists in Kansas City.
“We had contact with over 300 drug houses in 2016, 2017. A one-year period. How many there are total, I don’t know, because we have to rely, like police, on the community and the neighborhood,” Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Mike Mansur said.
The prosecutor’s office oversees the Drug Abatement Response Team, a program that works to shut down drug houses. Officers look at code enforcement and work with property owners to eliminate illegal drug activity.
Sometimes they do a home inspection to look for violations, sometimes they evict tenants. Other times they can take over a property if it’s a nuisance to the community. Many times they can’t find the homeowner.
“But what is a vacant home? Last week it wasn’t vacant and then the next week it is. That’s a difficult number to keep track of,” Mansur said.
Pat said she’s reported the house on 27th Terrace before.
“It’s like they don’t care about this side of the community because it’s known to be the meth street,” Pat said.
Bringing her home
Spike said the problem can affect any family, even “a girl up north from the suburbs.”
“Regardless of how she got into that area, she got there,” Spike said.
And that’s what drives him, and her family, to keep searching until the teen is found.
“My question is, why isn’t everyone doing it?” Spike said.
Because Ferris was last seen and went missing in Kansas City, Missouri, her family wants KCPD to get involved.
Investigators with KCPD have not indicated to 41 Action News their level of involvement, if any, in her case.
If anyone has information about Desirea’s whereabouts, they can submit a tip anonymously to police.