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Rowan County woman now missing for 13 days

Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 09, 2020

MOREHEAD, Ky. (LEX 18) — Detective Donny Hall hasn’t gotten much sleep the last two weeks, as he’s the lead investigator in the search for Jill Clayton.

“We’re going to keep searching, keep working and keep spreading the word until Jill is found, or we exhaust all options,” Hall said from the Rowan County Sheriff’s office on Wednesday.

Thursday will be exactly 14 days since Clayton disappeared. When she didn’t show up for Thanksgiving dinner, the family knew something wasn’t right, especially after learning she had been in an argument with her boyfriend, Gary Jeffries, earlier that day.

Jeffries, who has at least one prior felony conviction, was arrested in Louisville last week on an unrelated charge. That, Detective Hall said, was helpful because it buys his department some time to gather the evidence needed to potentially charge Jeffries in connection to Clayton’s disappearance (as of now he’s a person of interest.)

“I questioned him, but once he realized why I was there, I explained the situation, and he requested counsel.” Hall said of his brief, and fruitless interrogation of Jeffries.

Because Jeffries traveled from Morehead to Louisville soon after Thanksgiving it leaves an awfully wide perimeter for authorities to search. Hall said he’s trying to organize a group of volunteers for a large-scale search later this week, but time – and those options he referenced – are running low.

“We’re into day 13. Even if she was just trapped somewhere it’s a long time, and I don’t know where she could be,” Hall said.

Hall said he’s known Ms. Clayton since the two were kids, so he’d like to deliver the family the best news possible, even if he knows they’re already bracing for the worst.

“They’re thinking something has happened to her.”

Clayton’s sister Katherine Holbrook told LEX 18 on Tuesday that Jill wasn’t the type to lose contact with friends and family for a long period of time, and always had her phone close by.

Her cell phone, keys, purse and the food she was preparing for Thanksgiving dinner are all that were left behind in the home the couple shared.

Hall said the food prep is what led detectives to believe that foul play was likely a part of this situation.

As community members have expressed an interest, Detective Hall is inviting anyone who’d like to help search for Jill Clayton to meet at the Rowan county courthouse this Friday morning at 9.