LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As the search continues for a missing Bullitt County woman, the case is attracting national attention. 19-year-old Brittney Kustes was reported missing July 20 and the detective investigating her disappearance said he believes the teenager may be in danger.
"We thought early on, and now we know, that Brittney is with this guy that is a registered sex offender," Lt. Scotty McGaha of the Bullitt County Sheriff's Office.
The man McGaha is referring to is with 34-year-old Roy Elwell, a convicted sex offender who is out of compliance registering and has a long criminal record. Whether Brittney went with Elwell voluntarily is still under investigation, but McGaha said one of the latest tips is troubling.
"We are concerned that he's holding her and she's not got the freedom to be able to leave," McGaha said.
That is why McGaha and Laurie Kustes, Brittney's mother, are hoping national attention will help bring her home. On July 27, McGaha and Kustes appeared on two national TV programs, 'Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell' and 'Nancy Grace.'
"The tips are getting stronger going to the media and hopefully we're going to find them soon," said McGaha during the appearance on 'Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell'
Kustes said she is grateful networks are interested in her daughter's story.
"The more I can get her face out there, the quicker, of course, we can find her," she said.
"You've got a little more eyes and ears right there that's the good part it helps you," said McGaha.
Kustes said she is unsure whether her daughter left voluntarily.
"I do know if she did voluntarily go, she didn't go thinking she wasn't coming back," said Kustes.
Kustes told us that a year ago police found her daughter with Elwell after she'd been gone for days and that Brittney came home hooked on meth. Kustes said she sent Brittney to rehab to kick the habit and that her daughter was supposed to testify in court against Elwell -soon.
"I just love my daughter and I just want her back," said Kustes.
Brittney Kustes story has also captured the attention of 'America's Most Wanted'. Her story is on its web site.
"We're getting very close but we're just been able to make that one step forward right where she's at the time," McGaha said.
Kustes is offering a reward for any tips that lead to Brittney's location. If you have any information about the case, call police.