Search for missing woman grows more urgent

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Nearly a month after she vanished, the search for a missing Knoxville woman grew even more urgent Thursday as police issued another public plea for help.

It was clear that authorities are losing hope that 26-year-old Desheena Kyle will be found alive and well.

“Investigators, who have and will continue to pursue all active leads, have strong reason to believe that Desheena could be in danger and has been harmed,” said Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland. 

Kyle, an aspiring fashion designer and graduate of Central High School, 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,” Erland said.  

Her 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.

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.

John Bassett Source: Knox County Sheriff’s Office

Dozens of KPD officers, including crisis negotiators and the department’s SWAT team, surrounded Bassett’s house on 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.  

Published on July 16, 2021