Eight months later, family of Cassie Sheetz still searching for answers
PENDLETON COUNTY, W.Va. (WHSV) - It’s been over eight months since hiker Cassie Sheetz went missing at Spruce Knob in Pendleton County, West Virginia, and her family is still looking for answers.
“I miss her. I think we’re trying to be as strong as we can and as hopeful as we can, but that hope is starting to run a little bit thin,” said Arlene Howard, Cassie’s mother.
Over a month ago, the family’s search for answers led to contract the services of Philadelphia based private investigator Kevin Ryan.
“Everybody assumes that six, eight months there’s nothing, that she’s deceased. I don’t believe that. The evidence doesn’t take us there. There’s been no evidence to show that she is deceased, but it is something that’s in the back of our minds,” said Kevin Ryan.
Ryan has been a private investigator for over 20 years and has focused on missing person’s cases since 2012. He said he’s been in touch with West Virginia State Police and is hoping to find something they missed.
“In cases like this where time has gone by re-interviewing people, re-examining places they’ve been in or where they’ve been seen on camera, things of that nature, that’s how you keep these cases moving,” said Ryan.
State Police have stopped searching Spruce Knob and have not given any new updates on the case. Ryan said police told him they’ve done everything they can. He has made efforts to get the FBI involved in the search.
“There is a lot more that can be done. For whatever reason, there’s a difference of opinion here, but this girl is missing. She deserves a voice and this family needs resolution,” he said.
As Cassie’s family prepares for their first holiday season without her, they are hoping Ryan’s investigation can bring them some closure.
“She’s got three kids. They need their mom. She’s got sisters and brothers, she’s got a mother, a father, grandparents, aunts, uncles. We’re all worried sick. We just need to know something,” said Arlene Howard.
Ryan said his investigation is coming along. He’s been trying to focus on the days leading up to March 11, when Cassie went missing.
“What went on leading up to that day, her actions, her mental state, jobs, people she was hanging out with, things of that nature that could lead us to possibly what happened and why we’re where we are today,” he said.
During his investigation, Ryan has been looking into possible locations of interest outside of Spruce Knob, and he thinks he may have found two that will help his investigation.
“I’ve developed two other places of search, but I need to get the information together and get everything packaged up before we put boots on the ground. It’s easy just to put boots on the ground, start searching and you come up with nothing. I don’t want to do that,” he said.
Ryan hopes to get enough information together to bring a search party to the area before the end of the year. While he primarily works alone, he said he will be able to put together a search party of 200-300 people.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Cassie Sheetz should contact West Virginia State Police or Investigator Kevin Ryan at (803) 993-8477.
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