CAMPBELL COUNTY - The family of a missing Campbell County woman is holding out hope their loved one is still alive.
47-year-old Starla Pride disappeared into the woods on Monday, Sept. 12. She wandered from her Campbell County home on Shady Cove Road, southeast of Caryville.
That area consists of hundreds of thickly-wooded acres, with steep hills and uneven ground that would present a challenge for any hiker, not to mention a woman who left home in her pajamas.
"And she's either got on a pair of little knitted slippers or a pair of pink flip flops," Pride's cousin and caretaker Cynthia Beheler said.
Beheler and her family members are hoping and believing Pride is still alive.
"I feel like she's still out there," Pride said, tears gathering in her eyes. "I just want her to come home."
She said Pride has an intellectual disability and has wandered before, but never for more than a few hours.
Beheler said her cousin sometimes wanders when she's upset, and the family dog had died just a week before the woman's disappearance. One of Pride's sisters died in June.
"Bless her little heart, she's tough," Beheler said.
The search for Pride began the evening she disappeared.
The Campbell County Sheriff's Office has established its command post at the end of Lake Road, in the vicinity of Pride's disappearance.
Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins said the woods are making the search difficult.
Knox County and Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopters have tried to help with the search.
"(They) can't see through the canopy of the trees because of how dense it is," Goins said. "Just no luck with that."
People from multiple agencies have used sonar in the water and combed the nearby woods.
"We've made quite a bit of progress on covering most of it, but not all of it at this point," Goins said.
Community members have joined as well, including the family of Rhonda Daugherty, a Campbell County woman who disappeared in late 2014.
"They're out there every day they're not at work," Beheler said, emotionally.
It later came to light Daugherty was a murder victim.
Goins, however, said he has no reason to believe there's anything suspicious about Pride's disappearance.
"We're not giving up hope, you know. We're going to keep looking and we're going to be here and try to get her back home," he said.
Pride is 4-foot 10-inches tall, weighs 136 pounds and has type 2 diabetes, though Beheler said she's not medicine-dependent. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, green pajama pants and pink-frame metal bifocals.
Beheler asks, "for those out there who pray, pray for her."
Sheriff Goins encourages anybody to search the area for signs of Starla Pride and report anything they may find to his office at 423-562-7446.
Assisting the Campbell County Sheriff's Office are the sheriff's offices from Anderson, Knox and Roane counties, as well as the LaFollette Rescue Squad, Campbell County Emergency Management, Anderson County Rescue Squad, Knoxville Police Department, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
(© 2016 WBIR)