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Where's Kelly Armstrong? After 5 Months Of Anguish, Sister Pleads For Help

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Kelly Armstrong has been missing since August 2011.
Kelly Armstrong has been missing since August 2011.

Where is Kelly Armstrong?

That's what her sister still asks, more than five months after Armstrong disappeared from her Kokomo, Ind., home.

Shelly Rush said she wants her 28-year-old sister found, no matter the circumstances.

"I just want to bring her home, one way or the other," Rush told The Huffington Post. "Wherever she is at, whatever condition she is in, I just want her home."

Armstrong, mother of a year-old son, has been missing since August 2011. She and her boyfriend, Travis Funke, lived together with their baby. Rush said family members became concerned after not hearing from Armstrong and not getting clear answers from Funke.

Rush said she called the Kokomo Police Department to check on her sister's welfare. After officers were unable to make contact with Armstrong, Rush filed a missing person report.

Authorities later searched Armstrong's home. They found blood-stained carpeting, but found neither Funke nor the couple's child. It's unclear whether the carpet stains are related to Armstrong's disappearance.

According to Theindychannel.com, Funke, 27, was arrested on Sept. 28, 2011. He had been on house arrest in an unrelated case, but allegedly cut off his ankle monitor. He has been charged with escape. The baby has been located and placed in protective custody.

Kokomo police declined to discuss the case.

"We're still actively looking for her. That's the only thing I can comment on at this time," said police Maj. Brian Seldon.

Rush said police will not discuss the investigation with anyone, including the family.

"I call them and I don't get a return call," Rush said. "I understand the investigation is open, but we would like to know what's going on. I reported her missing for a reason. I need their help for a reason and I expect them to help."

Rush added: "They had the nerve to tell my dad they could not give us information because we leak it to the media. The media does not even cover this story, so I don't even know what information they are talking about that has supposedly been leaked."

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Rush said she has spent hundreds of hours posting flyers and organizing searches. The effort consumed so much time that she was fired from her job and had to take a temporary position.

Rush said she's fielded calls from the curious, the concerned, the helpful, and, occasionally, the disturbed.

"One of Travis' friends contacted me to tell me he did not murder my sister or help clean up the body of my sister," Rush said. "Why somebody would call me and tell me that, I'm not sure. He called more than once, so I had to call the police and notify them."

Rush said her family has had trouble enlisting help.

"We have had several searches, but we are having a hard time getting anyone in the community to help us," Rush said. "We have also reached out to some professional search groups, like Texas EquuSearch, but they need the OK from police before they will search and Kokomo police told them they did not need their help."

Rush said another local family is experiencing similar heartache.

Esther Westenbarger, 51, has been missing since Nov. 12, 2009. She was last seen at about 1:30 a.m., leaving Miller's Tavern, on the north side of Kokomo. Her car, a gold 2005 Cadillac with a personalized Ohio plate that read "MS ESTHER," also is missing.

Westenbarger's family also has been critical of police.

"I haven't heard anything from anybody. I don't think they're doing enough. I think there can be more done," her brother, Daniel Pelfree, said in an interview with Theindychannel.com. "To me, it's almost a cold case, as far as I'm concerned."

Rush said her family plans another search at the end of the month. They are also trying to organize a dinner to raise money for a reward.

"Kelly did not take off on her own," Rush said. "We always celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together. We always went shopping together for Christmas. My sister was really big on making sure we were all together for the holidays. She would not have missed that. She would not have left her baby."

Armstrong has auburn hair and brown eyes. She is 5 foot 2 and weighs about 120 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kokomo police at 765-459-5101. People interested in helping search or donating funds, can do so at Operationfindkelly.yolasite.com. The family also maintains a Facebook page devoted to the case.

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