Search on for Independence-area girl who vanished in 2002

Authorities announced today that they have been searching a farm in northeast Jackson County for weeks, looking for any trace of girl missing since 2002.

Kathryn Sholly Seefeldt was 12 years old when she left her family home Oct. 13, 2002. Her family never saw her again, authorities said.

For about the last three weeks, searches have been conducted on private property north of the intersection of Blue Mills and North Koger roads, according to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp.

Searchers have narrowed their search to an approximately one-square-acre of woods on the farm. This weekend, crew members with the Fort Osage Fire Protection District conducted a controlled burn to aid in the search.

Sharp said he notified the media today not because there was any announcement to make about the case but because word of the search had leaked.

The searchers have come from a variety of law enforcement agencies, including Sugar Creek and Independence police and the Lee’s Summit Fire Department. Anthropology students from the University of Central Missouri also have helped.

Sharp said he was confident that the tip that led them to area was based on good information.

“My hope is that the little girl — now young lady — sees this story and says there is no need to look for me,” Sharp said. “That’s my hope.”

The search continued into late Monday afternoon.

When Katheryn vanished nine years ago, authorities described her as white, 5 feet, 2 inches tall with blonde hair and blue eyes, and weighing about 120 pounds.