Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Disappearance of Kayla Berg


Kayla Berg has been missing since August 11th, 2009. The young girl was just 15 years-old at the time of her disappearance. Kayla and her mother had just moved back to Antigo, Wisconsin a little over a week before she vanished. Months earlier, Kayla's mother had moved them to Texas--but they decided to return to Antigo after they were both homesick. Upon their return, Kayla split her time between her grandparent's home and her father's home. 

On the evening Kayla vanished, she was staying with her grandparents. Around 8:45 PM, Kayla was picked up by 24 year-old Kevin Kielcheski. Kevin was a friend of her older brother, and he often drove Kayla and her friends around. After he picked her up, the two of them drove around Antigo while smoking marijuana. Around 9:30 PM, Kayla and Kevin stopped at a local McDonald's to talk with one of Kayla's friends who was working there. According to Kevin, after they left McDonald's Kayla asked him to drive her to her boyfriend Miguel's house. Kevin agreed, and then drove her from Antigo to Wausau--an approximate forty minute drive. Kevin stated that the house where Kayla asked to be dropped off appeared to not have any lights on. After she was dropped off, Kayla never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again.

Due to Kayla's new living situation, it took her family a few days to notice she was missing. Kayla's mother was living with a friend until she could find a more permanent living situation, and Kayla herself was splitting her time between two households. After she did not return home, her grandparents thought that she was with her father--and her father thought she was with her mother or grandparents--and vice versa. Additionally, Kayla did not have a cell phone, which made it harder for them to keep in touch with her. After six days went by and Kayla's family members realized that nobody had heard from her, Kayla was finally reported missing.

Police interviewed Kayla's friends and felt that they were not being completely forthcoming. Due to this, Kayla was initially classified as a runaway. Kayla's friends did corroborate that she was seen with Kevin on the night of her disappearance. Kevin was inevitably questioned, and he told police that he had not seen or heard from Kayla since he dropped her off in Wausau. Police then spoke to Kayla's boyfriend Miguel, who denied seeing Kayla on the day of her disappearance. Police also went to the address where Kevin said that he dropped Kayla off. It was then discovered that the house was condemned and Miguel and his family were living in a different spot until the house could be repaired. Kayla's friends were adamant that Kayla was aware of this, but Kevin insisted that she still had been asked to be dropped off at the condemned house. 

Kayla's mother did not approve of Miguel; largely due to the fact that he was four years older than Kayla. Due to this, it was briefly theorized that Kayla might be hiding out with Miguel. However, police were unable to find any evidence that she was hiding at Miguel's current residence or at the condemned house. After that, Kayla's disappearance was reclassified as an endangered missing persons case. 

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As weeks turned into months without any sign of Kayla, rumors about what might have happened to her began to swirl. There were a few prominent theories, but none of them were favorable to Kayla's loved ones. One theory was that Kayla might have overdosed and someone--either Kevin, Miguel, or someone else--disposed of her body. Another prominent theory was that Kayla was harmed by either Kevin or Miguel. Police were particularly suspicious of Kevin as well, and they repeatedly tried to corroborate his timeline of events from that night. Kevin maintained that he went straight home to his mother's house after dropping Kayla off. Kevin's mother has corroborated this statement. 

Eventually, Kevin hired a lawyer and stopped cooperating with police. On October 26, 2009, Kevin was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment in relation to his actions with Kayla on the night she disappeared. Specifically, it was cited that Kevin put Kayla in danger by driving and smoking marijuana with her as a passenger.


Kevin pleaded not guilty to the charges. Meanwhile, police continued to investigate both Kevin and Miguel as persons of interest in Kayla's disappearance. Both of their cars were processed for forensic evidence. Cadaver dogs were used on both vehicles, and they got a hit on Kevin's car. However, there was no evidence that the scent hit was related to Kayla's disappearance. 

Kevin and Miguel's cell phone records were also subpoenaed. On the evening of Kayla's disappearance, Kevin's phone was either shut off or had a dead battery by 9:00 PM. It was not turned on again until 2:00 PM the following day. Miguel's cell phone records reportedly corroborated what he told police, but it was later learned that Miguel had an old cell phone that pinged off a tower in Lincoln County, about 40 miles north of Wausau, on the night of Kayla’s disappearance. Police attempted to question Miguel about this, but he had grown tired of being questioned and declined to speak with them. A search was eventually conducted in the area where the old cell phone pinged, but nothing of significance was found. 

Searches were also conducted around the area where Kevin reportedly dropped Kayla off on the evening of her disappearance. It appears that nothing of interest was found during those searches either. As time stretched by, Kayla's case seemingly went cold. On August 8th, 2011, a judge dropped Kevin's reckless endangerment charges due to lack of evidence. Many still believed that Kevin or Miguel had something to do with Kayla's disappearance, but the search for her reached a standstill. 

Kayla's case received national attention in October 2016, after a YouTube video depicting a man holding a girl hostage in his house went viral. The video was actually published in October 2009--just two months after Kayla's disappearance--but police did not know about the video until it went viral. Many believed that the young girl depicted in the video resembled Kayla. 


However, after further investigation, it was determined that the girl in the video was not Kayla, nor was anyone actually being held hostage. Both subjects in the video were acting. Still, the emergence of this video brought renewed attention to Kayla's disappearance and there was a new push to solve the case.

In October 2019, a professional search for Kayla was conducted across 11 square miles at Nicolet National Forest. Police stated that they were led to that area by information they had gathered throughout the investigation, but they declined to elaborate on said evidence. Nothing was found during this search, but investigators stated that they may return to the area again in the future. 

Kayla remains missing today. Both Kevin and Miguel remain persons of interest, but at this time nobody has been charged with anything related to Kayla's disappearance. There is a monetary reward available for anyone with information that could help solve the case. If you have any information, please contact the FBI here. 

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