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'Somebody needs to pay': Kentucky family desperate for answers in cold case homicide

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Posted at 10:13 AM, Oct 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-27 13:13:49-04

NICHOLASVILLE, Kent. — Alyssa Hughes was just 3 years old when she first appeared on WLEX asking for help to find her mom Amanda Hughes, who was missing.

About one year after her story aired, a hunter scouting hunting locations for the upcoming deer season found Amanda Hughes's skeletal remains on the shoulder of Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Parkway in Mercer County.

This week marks 15 years since Amanda Hughes' body was found. Alyssa Hughes is all grown up but no closer to learning the truth about what happened to her mom.

"I was wondering why anyone would do that to somebody else, and then I'm just thinking the hope that one day we'll know something," the 19-year-old said.

While she seeks answers, she also seeks to know her mother.

"Every night, I'd be like, so what did she like to do?" Alyssa Hughes said. "What's her favorite song and stuff like that."

"She was very mischievous," Amanda's father, Donald Hughes, said. "Always cutting up. Never saw a person she didn't like, and she loved kids."

Donald has helped fill in the gaps for Alyssa while grieving the loss himself. He and his wife, Linda, visit her grave every week. While there, he talks to his little girl.

"That I miss her," Donald said about what he said at Amanda's grave. "I wish she was here, and someday I'll see her again."

The Hughes family hopes someone who may not have watched our first story in 2006 is watching this time and that they tell the police what they know.

"Somebody needs to pay," Donald Hughes said. "I may never live to see it, but hopefully, they find him."

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to please contact Kentucky State Police.

Detective Luke Vanhoose was assigned to the case in 2019. While he has followed up on a few leads since becoming the case officer, police said the leads amounted to nothing.

If you have any information about this case, you can reach Vanhoose at (859) 623-2404.

Kristen Edwards at WLEX first reported this story.