On Wednesday evening, family, friends, and community members gathered in downtown Anderson in honor of Leonna Wright.
The girl was only 1 year old when she went missing on June 6, 2015. She was last seen at Edgewood Square apartments in Pendleton where her mother’s boyfriend at the time, Travis Jones, was babysitting her.
Jones was arrested the day Wright went missing on an unrelated bench warrant, but eventually bonded out of jail.
“With each year, the emotions get stronger, the pain gets harder, and it’s harder to deal with,” said Traci Fant, a community activist who has worked closely with Leonna Wright’s family.
Fant organized the posting of billboards and flyers to help find Leonna and get her justice.
“If it was an accident, it was an accident,” Fant said. “If you gave the baby to someone, whatever happened, whatever the situation was, we want to know, and we’re not going to stop fighting until we get those answers.”
Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride has joined in their fight since taking office in January 2017.
“We know a whole lot more than what we can necessarily prove at this point,” McBride said about the challenges in the case.
He says his deputies continue to work the case and are even doing so this week.
“What’s interesting about this case is it’s almost every week we get a tip,” McBride said.
He’s hopeful his investigators will get the information they need to make an air-tight case in finding justice for Leonna.
“At some point, there’s going to be some fact that tips the scales, and it’s going to be that one little piece of information that we needed to move forward,” McBride said.
Fant says there was a lot of time lost under the previous sheriff administration which she says did not allocate enough resources to the case. However, Sheriff McBride says that’s a change he made when he took office. He’s even requested the help of some of his federal partners in solving Leonna’s case.
“What’s changed is probably the protocol now for how we handle a situation like this,” McBride said.
He says they treat all missing children cases now like a worst case scenario and call in as many resources as they can right away.
Sheriff McBride asks for anyone who may have information to call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. In Anderson County, the tip line is run by volunteers who are not deputies who help keep identities anonymous.
There’s also a $10,000 reward for anyone who can give information about the case that will lead to an arrest.