Search team reacts to Aleah Beckerle's death

Search team reacts to Aleah Beckerle's death

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Aleah Beckerle search party leader Otis Pruitt can tell you exactly where he was when got the news.

Pruitt says it came in two words.

"It just said 'it's her. Nobody handled it well. I got sick I had to walk off the floor at work. It's heartbreaking it makes your gut drop," Pruitt said.

Pruitt had taken over search efforts once the Texas Equusearch left town. Since then, only around eight volunteers stuck with him, maintaining the belief that Aleah could still be alive.

"If you look at it, there was nothing saying otherwise. There was nothing saying that I mean ... nobody comes and takes somebody from a house to kill them or murder them," Pruitt said.

Police found Aleah in a house on South Bedford Avenue, an area that the search team hadn't yet been.

"We did the stuff no one else wanted to do I think, as far as knocking on doors. you know trying to keep the word out," Pruitt said.

It wasn't the ending they'd hoped for. But he says it does give the group some closure that she'll get a proper burial.  Now they're searching for answers.

"Closure won't be done until there's justice. It's an innocent life lost that didn't need to be lost. It was taken from her.  She couldn't talk about it she couldn't defend herself," Pruitt said.

Pruitt also says his team acquired close to $3,000 dollars worth of search gear plus some donations.

Less than a thousand dollars was in cash.  He says he donated that to Aleah's family. No word yet how they'll will use it.

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