Family offers reward for missing teen

By Shayla Reaves - bio | email
Posted By Alane Paulley - email

BULLITT COUNTY, KY (WAVE)- A 19-year-old woman is missing and Bullitt County detectives need your help to find her. Her family is offering a reward for any tips leading to her location.

Brittney Kustes disappeared Saturday July 17th and was reported missing a day later, according to her mother. The young woman's SUV is still parked at her grandparent's home where she left it.

"Her clothes are at home, her makeup, all of her belongings, except her phone," said Brittney's mother Laurie Kustes. "She does have a phone but (when you call) you get nothing."

The disappearance comes less than two weeks before Brittney was scheduled to testify in court against Roy Vernon Elwell July 28th. Bullitt County Sheriff's Detective Scotty McGaha described Elwell as a man with a "lengthy record," one that includes a requirement to register as a sex offender for life, according to the Kentucky State Sex Offender Registry. Though detectives are not saying Elwell had anything to do with Brittney's disappearance, his past has made him a person of interest. His prior offenses included kidnapping and unlawful confinement of a 17-year-old victim. Elwell's last reported address is 9707 Lancewood Road in Louisville.

"We've checked his residence, or the one he has got reported as his sex offender status...he's not been found there," McGaha said of repeated checks.

Brittney's mother described the young woman and 34-year-old Elwell as "acquaintances" who met through mutual friends more than a year ago. Laurie Kustes said drug addiction kept her daughter and Elwell connected until Brittney attended rehab in 2009.

"She hated him for what her life had become at that point in time," Laurie Kustes said.

Kustes said she and her daughter made plans for a shopping trip the weekend Brittney disappeared. She said repeated calls went unreturned.

"I got paid Friday and we were going to go shopping over the weekend," Laurie Kustes said. "I called her Saturday, I called her Sunday, it was weird. I go looking for her, found out she was seen in the car with this Vernon Elwell."

Brittney Kustes is described as petite with blond hair including dark brown layers underneath. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bullitt County Sheriff's Department at 502-955-7480.

"I can't even explain it. We don't know we don't anything about her if she's alive, if she's well," Laurie Kustes said holding back tears. "We can't sleep, we can't's a nightmare, it's a true nightmare."

The family is offering a $1,000 reward for any tips leading to Brittneys location.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Bullitt County dispatch at 502-955-7480, or any local law enforcement agency.

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