Parents keep hope alive for missing 26-year-old daughter

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INDIANAPOLIS — Two Indianapolis parents are keeping hope alive that their daughter will come home safe. Kirsten Brueggeman has been missing for more than nine months now.

”Not knowing is really the most painful thing,” said Kirsten’s father, Rex Brueggeman.

Rex and his wife, Lisa, have been dealing with a constant state of not knowing since Jan. 2. But the hope is still alive.

”There still could be a chance that she’s out there and we could eventually find her,” said Lisa.

Kirsten was last seen on CCT footage at 2 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2021, walking through the parking lot of the Harper J. Ransburg Branch YMCA off of N. Shortridge Rd.

Rex and Lisa said their daughter had gone out with friends to the Irish Mutt, just a little ways from the YMCA, at the corner of Shadeland Rd. and 10th St.

They said Kirsten got in a fight with her friends and her friends left the bar, but Kirsten stayed.

Lisa said that’s around when she knew something was wrong.

”Call it mother’s intuition, but I felt like something bad had really happened,” Lisa said. “I woke up at about 12:30, about the same time her phone went off, and that’s when I first tried to call her and her phone was off.”

Since then, the world has not been the same for the Brueggemans.

”Our life ground to a halt,” said Rex.

Rex and Lisa said Kirsten is a free spirit, with a stubborn streak and a lot of love for her furry friends.

”She would go the extra mile to help an animal, dog, cat, whatever,” Rex said.

The Brueggemans said they’re confident their daughter wouldn’t have just walked away, because she never would have left her dog, Tifa.

Tifa still lives with Rex and Lisa, and she misses her mom, too.

”I never believed much that pets could get depressed and miss their owners, but it’s pretty obvious she does,” Rex said.

The whole family misses Kirsten quite a lot and wonders what happened.

”You play all kinds of scenarios in your mind of what might actually have happened to her and some are too horrible to even verbalize,” he said.

But, there has also been a lot of work to find Kirsten. Rex said IMPD has conducted searches and there is an ongoing investigation. They are also offering a reward of $10,000 for any information leading to Kirsten’s whereabouts.

”I do believe that somebody knows something,” Lisa said.

The Brueggemans have even hired Lauth Investigation International, a private investigator firm, to look into their daughter’s disappearance. Rex said IMPD has done a great job but they have a lot on their plate.

”Just the nature of the investigation, a private investigator has more time,” he said.

On Saturday, they held a vigil to raise awareness about Kirsten’s disappearance. About 40 people showed up to support the family and pass out fliers with Kirsten’s face and information on them.

”I’m hoping that because maybe some time has gone by that someone out there is more willing to give up some information,” Lisa said.

As the search for their daughter continues, Rex and Lisa now also want to help other families missing loved ones.

”Now we know what this feels like and if nothing else we can help them understand how you can get through it,” Rex said. “How we have managed, little by little, to do it. I would love to be able to help other people.”

For now, the family keeps the hope alive, praying to see their daughter come home.

”It’s difficult, but miracles do happen,” Lisa said.

If you have any information about the whereabouts of Kirsten Brueggemann, you’re asked to call IMPD at Missing Persons at (317) 327-6160, or call Lauth Investigation International’s anonymous tip line at (317) 279-6082.

If you would like to support the Brueggeman family during this difficult time, a GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with the financial strain of the search for Kirsten.

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