- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The family of a Peru State College student who disappeared nearly five years ago is still struggling to accept her presumed death and the lack of prosecution in the case.

La Tanya Thomas tells the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/1PgdvU1 ) she’s frustrated that authorities have never filed charges against anyone in the December 2010 disappearance of her 19-year-old daughter, Tyler Thomas.

“I know I need to have patience,” she said. “Coming up on five years, my patience is wearing thin.”

La Tanya Thomas said one of the hardest parts is that her daughter’s body hasn’t been found and authorities haven’t determined exactly what happened.

“We haven’t been able to go through that grieving process,” she said. “We’re just halted, suspended in air. Where is she? What happened?”

The family is pursuing a lawsuit against the college in state court for ignoring warnings that fellow student Joshua Keadle was a possible threat to women at the college.

Peru State officials declined to comment on the lawsuit. A federal judge dismissed a similar lawsuit the family had filed.

Keadle told authorities that he and Thomas had sex in his vehicle on the night of her disappearance, but he said he left her alive on a river dock after she threatened to report he had raped her. Keadle was later convicted and sentenced to 15 to 20 years for the 2008 rape of a 15-year-old Fremont girl.

Keadle has denied killing Thomas in past interviews with media after her disappearance. He will be eligible for parole beginning in late 2018.

Nemaha County Sheriff Brent Lottman said he considers this an open case, and investigators follow up on any new leads that come up.

“It would be great if we would have found her right away,” the sheriff said. “It would still be great to find her. I can’t think of anything we didn’t do or attempt to do.”

La Tanya Thomas will always remember the final phone call she had with her daughter when Tyler was so excited about being named captain of the Peru State dance squad.

“I got to tell her that I loved her and that I was proud of her,” La Tanya Thomas said. “At least I got to tell her that.”


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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