MACOUPIN COUNTY, Ill. - An army of police and first responders continued its search for a mother of four who has been missing for almost two weeks in Macoupin County, Illinois.
Law enforcement established a search operations command post at Royal Lakes, where the missing woman resides.
Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl was hoping for at least 60 first responders to show up and help. He was pleased when about 100 arrived on the scene.
"Awesome, I think people really care and everybody wants to help," he said.
They've been looking for 37-year-old Denita Hedded. She was last seen January 25 on her birthday. She borrowed her roommate's truck to go celebrate. The truck returned but she has not been seen since, and family and friends have not heard from her. Her brother Robert and his wife Suvannah showed up to say how grateful they were to the searchers.
"Very confident they'll come up with something. I've watched them on the news and everywhere else, these guys are going in and out of everywhere they possibly can to look," Raymond Dyer said.
The first responders represented a number of police and fire departments across the metro east, as well as K-9 units from Missouri. The searchers were dispatched to six different zones. They used an airplane and drones scouring the ground.
"The not knowing is the worst. It's very, very hard to just wonder and (have) no clues, no answers," said Suvannah.
Searchers walked the roads checking ditches and combed the terrain on ATVs. Although the search area is mostly smooth farmland, authorities said some spots have proved challenging.
"Some parts of the area that we're searching, they're wooded; very hilly, lots of ditches, lots of undergrowth, very thick undergrowth," Sheriff Kahl said.
People have not lost all hope.
"It's a puzzle, but in the long run, I'm hoping it come out to a happy ending," said Royal Lakes Parkeoka Huddleston.