PITTSBURGH — Where is Alivia Kail? Was she sold into human trafficking or the victim of a homicide? Is she still alive?
So many unanswered questions after all these years, and still no sign of Alivia Kail, a vibrant 19-year-old who lived in West Mifflin.
Channel 11′s Chief Investigative Reporter Rick Earle sat down with investigators, who are taking another close look at the case file. He also spoke with Kail’s mother, who is still holding out hope.
“I believe I’m going to find her. I think the year 2023 is going to happen,” said Christine Didiano, during a recent interview at her South Hills home.
Twelve years after her daughter vanished on a trip to Florida with her boyfriend, Didiano is still holding out hope that her daughter is alive.
Earle: Do you think your daughter is still alive?
In March 2011, Kail left Pittsburgh and headed to Florida with her boyfriend of six months, Alex Lorenzi.
Kail spoke with her brother at his home in West Mifflin just before she left.
“Her words specifically was you know, ‘Hey, don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay. I don’t have to pay for this trip,’” said Didiano.
That was the last time her family saw or heard from her.
“I tried calling her phone, she didn’t answer. You know I was getting very suspicious. You know, ‘Why isn’t she? It’s going into voicemail,’” said Didiano.
Didiano said they would soon learn that Kail’s boyfriend had returned to Pittsburgh from Florida, but there was no sign of Alivia.
She wasn’t answering her cell phone and her friends and family hadn’t seen her.
“I believe that you know, there’s some harm done. This is not like her. This is totally out of character,” said Kail.
And the police had a lot of questions for her boyfriend. That didn’t go well.
Detective Steve Hitchings: He never answers any of our questions. However, people have told us when he comes back, Alivia is not with him. When he’s questioned on it, he provides no type of answer for when or where she is.
Earle: He didn’t cooperate with the investigation?
Hitchings: No. No. No.
Police executed a search warrant at Lorenzi’s home, where they found a stolen gun, marijuana and cocaine.
Lorenzi eventually pleaded guilty to possession and receiving stolen property.
He served three months in jail on those charges, but there was never any evidence to connect him to Kail’s disappearance.
Earle: Do you believe she ever made it to Florida?
Hitchings: I don’t, me personally.
Earle also reached out to Lorenzi’s attorney, and he declined to comment.
At a vigil a year after Kail vanished, Lorenzi’s mother showed up unexpectedly and told reporters as they gathered at the vigil that her son had nothing to do with Kail’s disappearance.
That led to a tense confrontation with Didiano.
Didiano: I’m glad that you’ve decided to take this opportunity.
Lorenzi’s mother: I am here.
Didiano: To be here!
Lorenzi’s mother: I am.
Didiano: And on that further note, when your son is found guilty…that I believe that he has done something, harm to my daughter, I will be there as well. Thank you very much.
Lorenzi’s mother: Same to you.
Over the past decade, Police have conducted multiple searches, one near the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, where Kail’s cell phone last pinged.
“Based upon a coordinated effort with cell phone information and cell towers we searched that area. It’s basically a needle in a haystack,” said Hitchings.
They’ve also searched in Mount Washington, where Kail lived with a friend, and in Kittanning, Armstrong County.
It’s unclear what led investigators to Kittanning.
“It’s taken a toll and it’s changed all of us. Each and every one of us deal with her differently. And we mourn every day because we don’t have any answers,” said Didiano.
The youngest of five children, Alivia, her mother said, was fun-loving and very caring.
“If you took pictures she was always the funny one in the background. Or people have said that when they met her she possessed a certain aura. She was just kind. I mean if you needed something, she’d say here take my coat,” said Didiano.
Earle: Are you surprised this case has gone on for so long?
Didiano: Yes, and disappointed, and disappointed.
Earle: You expected to get answers years ago?
Didiano: Yes, even if you know we still have not found a body, but yes, some more concrete [information].
Two years after she disappeared, the FBI suggested she may have been sold into human trafficking.
While investigators concede anything’s a possibility, they are not holding out hope, and they told Earle they just need one more piece of evidence to build a case.
Hitchings: We just need a body with cause and manner of death.
Earle: You just need one more piece of that puzzle?
Hitchings: One more piece of that puzzle, you know that would put us over the top to prove that a crime has occurred and that we can prosecute it.
After years of unanswered questions, Kail’s mother had now decided to take matters into her own hands.
She’s now launching a podcast about her daughter’s disappearance.
“I named it heart to heart because my heart is the same as somebody else’s broken heart,” said Didiano.
Didiano: I’m going to dedicate my life to this, and hopefully the outcome comes and Alivia gets found and this is going to be all worth it.
Earle: You are going to tell her story on your podcast?
Didiano: And I want to get her back, and I can start to heal, and my family can start to heal.
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