Woman Who Helped Find Missing People Disappears, Family ‘Still Hopeful’

“In fifty years, this is the most complicated case I’ve ever been involved in,” an investigator says of the search for Andrea Knabel.

December 29, 2021
Andrea Knabel before she vanished August 19, 2019

Andrea Knabel before she vanished on August 19, 2019.

Photo by: Discovery, Inc.

Discovery, Inc.

Andrea Knabel before she vanished on August 19, 2019.

By: Aaron Rasmussen

For the latest on this case, don't miss the 4-part premiere of "Disappeared: Finding Andrea" on ID New Year's Day at 8pm ET/7pm C.

A Kentucky mother of two who worked with an organization that helps search for missing people suddenly vanished over two years ago, baffling friends, family and investigators.

Andrea Knabel of Louisville got into an argument with relatives and went to her sister Erin Knabel’s home on the evening of August 13, 2019. She then left and hasn’t been in touch since.

The missing woman’s father, Mike Knabel, told WDRB that “there is no sign of foul play or death” and loved ones are “still hopeful.”

“We just had the two-year, two-month anniversary, and our determination is still as strong as it was from day one,” he said.

In January, retired homicide detective Joe Fanciulli volunteered to dig into the case and try to figure out 39-year-old Knabel’s whereabouts or what may have happened to her.

“I have a lot of pieces of that puzzle that have been put together, but it's only going to take one or two other small pieces to fit that together,” Fanciulli shared with Louisville station WDRB. “I believe there is a person — or persons — out there who have information, who knows something they might not even realize.”

Some of the information Fanciulli’s investigation has turned up is unsettling. “It’s clear she was involved in several types of activities that could put her at risk,” the former detective said on Dr. Phil, noting, “In fifty years, this is the most complicated case I’ve ever been involved in.”

Fanciulli fears Knabel may have reached out to the wrong person for help, “somebody she could not even have realized she was potentially at risk with,” he explained.

Erin Knabel hopes to see her sister return home soon. “While there are so many complicated theories out there, I wish people could see that for me and many others missing their family, it is very simple, we just want our person back,” she wrote on the Where Is Andrea Knabel Facebook page.

“We are beaten up, yes, but we don't feel like we're beaten,” the siblings’ father told WHAS-TV. “We feel like we're strong enough to see this to the end. We hope we are.”

Andrea Knabel is 5’ 7”, weighs around 190 pounds, and has hazel-green eyes and brown hair with blonde highlights.

Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call Louisville Metro Police at 502-574-LMPD (5673) or 502-574-7120. Tips can also be left anonymously at 855-746-0846.

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