Search for missing woman focuses on ex-boyfriend

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Desheena Kyle Source: KPD

As the search for a missing Knoxville woman goes on, police have apparently focused their attention on a former boyfriend but refuse to discuss any details of the case.

Desheena Kyle, 26, was reported missing from her Wilson Road apartment on June 28.

“While she was possibly seen some time around June 23, the last verified sighting was on June 18,” said Knoxville Police Department spokesman Scott Erland. “Based on the circumstances and what our investigators have learned, we believe there is a very real chance that she’s in danger.”

The family of Kyle, an aspiring fashion designer and graduate of Central High School, is offering a $10,000 reward in the case.  

Kyle’s family has expressed concerns that an estranged boyfriend, 29-year-old John Bassett, may have played a role in her disappearance.

Bassett, who has a lengthy history of drug-related arrests, was charged with domestic assault in 2014 for allegedly hitting Kyle and then using a rock to break the window of her car while she was inside, trying to hide from him. The charge against him was later dismissed, court records show.

John Bassett Source: Knox County Sheriff’s Office

While KPD officials have been tight-lipped about the investigation so far, Bassett was taken into custody last week after a very public display of force in the Lonsdale community.

Dozens of KPD officers, including crisis negotiators and the department’s SWAT team, surrounded Bassett’s house at 2127 Ohio Avenue on July 7. Officials said the house was empty when officers searched it, but Bassett was taken into custody “safely and without incident” later that evening.

Bassett was arrested for allegedly violating the terms of his probation for possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute. He’s been held without bond since then, and police have refused to discuss him at all in connection with Kyle’s disappearance.

“As for the police presence on Ohio Avenue, we attempted to serve a warrant on a subject who is known to be armed,” said Erland. “As far as the Desheena Kyle case goes, that’s an ongoing investigation. Her whereabouts are unknown, and we still need the public’s help.” 

 If anyone sees Desheena, they are urged to call 911 immediately, he said. She is approximately 5’3” tall and weighs about 130 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. 

Anyone with information concerning her whereabouts is asked to contact East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers via phone at 1-800-222-8477, online at www.easttnvalleycrimestoppers.org or the P3 Tips mobile app. Tipsters will remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward.  

Desheena Kyle. Source: KPD

J.J. Stambaugh may be at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com

Published on July 13, 2021