'Somebody needs to pay': Nicholasville family desperate for answers in cold case homicide

Posted at 7:00 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-02 16:49:19-04

(LEX 18) — Alyssa Hughes was just 3 years old when she first appeared on LEX 18 asking for help to find her mom Amanda, who was missing.

The Hughes family last heard from Amanda just after Valentine's Day in 2006. They filed a missing persons report in March 2006.

In October 2007, a hunter scouting hunting locations for the upcoming deer season found Amanda Hughes's skeletal remains on the shoulder of Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Pkwy in Mercer County.

This week marks 15 years since that day. Alyssa is all grown up, but no closer to learning the truth about what happened to her mom.

"I was wondering why anyone would do that to somebody else and then I'm just thinking the hope that one day we'll know something," Alyssa, now 19 years old, said.

While she seeks answers, she also seeks to know her mother.

"Every night I'd be like so what did she like to do?" Alyssa said. "What's her favorite song and stuff like that."

"She was very mischievous," Amanda's father, Donald Hughes, said. "Always cutting up. Never saw a person she didn't like, and she loved kids."

Donald has helped fill in the gaps for Alyssa while grieving the loss himself. He and his wife, Linda, visit her grave every week. While there, he talks to his little girl.

"That I miss her," Donald said about what he says at Amanda's grave. "I wish she was here and someday I'll see her again."

The Hughes family hopes someone who may not have watched our first story in 2006 is watching this time and that they tell the police what they know.

"Somebody needs to pay," Donald said. "I may never live to see it but hopefully they find him."

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to please contact KSP.

Detective Luke Vanhoose was assigned to the case in 2019. While he has followed up on a few leads since becoming the case officer, KSP said the leads amounted to nothing.

You can reach Det. Vanhoose at (859) 623-2404.