Remembering Ty Thomas

By: Ashley Harding

The man authorities call a “person of interest” in Tyler Thomas' disappearance is behind bars on an unrelated rape charge. In the meantime, life goes on for Ty's friends and family.

A friend of Tyler's family says even though Tyler's disappearance has been hard, they're still holding out hope. It's been ben almost one year to the day since 19-year-old Tyler Thomas disappeared from Peru State College, and despite a lengthy search and hundreds of man hours, Tyler has not been found.

For her family, going on without her has been a struggle. “We all just take it day by day. So that's how they've been doing. There's been a lot of support from a lot of people. They're a strong family,” said family friend, Shannon Ennis.

Although no charges have been filed in connection with Tyler's disappearance, authorities say Joshua Keadle is a “person of interest.” He admitted to police that he had sex with her before leaving her on a boat dock near the Missouri River.

On Wednesday, rape charges against Keadle in a separate case were dismissed in Nemaha County, but he faces other rape charges in Dodge County. “I was shocked, I was definitely shocked. It was hurtful,” said Ennis.

Even though he's only a “person of interest” and has not been charged in Tyler's case, those close to her believe Keadle knows more. “He knows more than what he's telling. We're just praying and hoping that one day, God places it on his heart and that he'll come clean about it,” she said.

Even though going on without her has been hard, those who knew Ty remember what they love most. “Her smile was the most memorable thing about her. Everyone would remember her smile. She liked to laugh a lot,” she said.

Keadle now faces charges in Dodge County in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl. Again, he has not been charged in connection with Tyler Thomas' disappearance.