Renewed interest in the Christina Bussell missing person case is generating new leads after a Middle Tennessee Private Investigator agreed to look further into the matter.
"It's been amazing the kind of support we've got out there in the community," said private investigator Joe Brodioi. "My method is to get some involvement from the community and get some people scurried up and try to get some leads popping in that are different than what the cops have got."
Bussell, then 26, hasn't been heard from since September 28, 2011, when witnesses said they saw her walking near the cigarette store at the TN/KY line in Winfield.
Despite several months of searching, Bussell's whereabouts remain unknown. Her family believes she is the victim of foul play because she left behind her two children.
"I have a feeling foul play was involved. In fact, I am almost certain of that," said Alisha Cooper, Bussell's older sister. "Christina would have called or tried to reach her children by now or at least tried to reach someone who could tell her how everyone is doing."
Brodioi, who has a military background, has been a private investigator for 13 years. He has worked other missing person cases and was able to find one man based only on a graduation date and last name. He believes he can get closure for the family.
"This is not a bad family. They're middle class people you know? They're hard working people. You just want to see 'em get some closure," Brodioi said. "I treat it like she's alive, but deep down I don't think she could be."
Brodioi says he's received a couple dozen leads since he took the case, including one anonymous person who used a burner phone to contact him. He's also received information from a prison inmate and another person implicated their own spouse in Bussell's disappearance.
He believes people talk to him simply because he's a civilian.
"I think they feel more at ease when they talk to me than when they're talking to a cop," he said.
Det. Randy Lewallen at the Scott County Sheriff's Department agrees.
"If somebody had information that they're afraid to talk to law enforcement, please call him," he said.
Lewallen is hopeful the renewed interest will help solve a case that's been considered open for more than five years. He simply wants to be able to provide the family with closure.
"The hope in it would be somebody maybe call and talk to him (Brodioi) in a non-law enforcement fashion," he said. "Somebody out there in the general public has to know something about this case that they think means nothing, but it could mean the world to us."
As for Bussell's children, they live with their paternal grandmother, Deborah Stephens, in Winfield. She says she keeps scrapbooks of news coverage and other momentos about Bussell.
"We talk about her all the time," Stephens said. "I told them, I said, 'Any time you have a question you want to know or you just want to talk about your mom, let's do it.' I've got her picture up on my wall."
Stephens said she was one of the people who saw Bussell walking towards the state line on Sept. 26, 2011, but Bussell wasn't reported missing until two days later.
Like the others, she just wants someone to come forward with information.
"If anybody knows anything, my Lord, give these kids closure. That's all I want for them and for the family," she said.
Anybody with any information whatsoever is urged to call Brodioi at 931-636-1619 or by calling the Scott County Sheriff's Department at 663-3111.