KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now working with the Kingsport Police Department in the case of missing 20-year-old Layla Santanello.
Layla was reported missing by a family member concerned for her welfare in June.
The last her mother, Jennifer Santanello, heard from her daughter, Layla told her she was staying at the Americourt Hotel in Kingsport with a friend.
“Like, ‘Okay, be safe and I love you.’ And she texted back, ‘I love you even more,'” Jennifer said.
Jennifer says she didn’t think much of it at the time because her daughter is very independent, but since then, there have been no leads on Layla’s case.
She says the family and authorities have been checking in on every tip they receive, still with no answers. She says family members would even go back to the Americourt parking lot for days just waiting on her.
“It’s kind of been like stages of denial: it’s fine, she’ll be home, she’s out there somewhere,” Jennifer said. “And then sort of shock where like you’re just numb. And now, I’m kind of angry and I want to make a lot of noise and I want people to help.”
Layla’s a mother of a two-year-old daughter, Nova Grace.
“I don’t think she would just leave Nova. I really, truly do not believe that,” said Jennifer. “[Layla] loves her. I don’t think she would just leave town on her own accord without Nova Grace.”
The family will hold a vigil in Borden Park on Saturday at 8 p.m. for Layla. Jennifer says Borden Park is somewhere she has always brought her kids and a place Layla really enjoys. Saturday is Layla’s 21st birthday.
“It’s a scary, scary thing,” said Jennifer. “But, I’m still holding on to the hope that she is in fact out there somewhere.”
The Kingsport Police Department says there are no currently no updates in Layla’s case. If you have any information, you’re asked to call the Kingsport Police Department at 423-343-9780 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.