LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The lead investigator in the high-profile disappearance of Natalee Holloway in 2005 has joined the search for a Little Rock teenager missing for nearly two years.

Investigator TJ Ward is hoping to shed some light on the disappearance of 18-year-old Ebby Steppach, who was reported missing on Oct. 24, 2015. Ward flew to Little Rock to look into the case after receiving a phone call from Steppach’s mother, Laurie Jernigan.

Jernigan says she remains hopeful despite running into multiple dead ends in the case.

Ward says while it’s too early to speculate what happened, he has agreed to take on the case full-time.

Ward investigated after Holloway went missing in 2005, after leaving a bar in Aruba. The 18-year-old Alabama woman was on a high school graduation trip at the time. Her disappearance remains unsolved.

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