Brittney’s 2-year-old daughter, Payton, had been staying with her father and other relatives since her mom disappeared. “She asks for her every time she gets in the car with us,” Stephanie, Brittney’s stepmom, said. “We just keep telling her she’s bye-bye right now. We don’t know what else to tell her.”
Chessie said of her granddaughter, “Nobody knew what to do, I mean, what do we tell a 2-year-old? We thought this was going to be very short-lived, we’re just going to find Brittney, y’know, wherever and bring her home. And now she’s saying, ‘My mama’s been at the store a very long time, I think she’s buying everything in the store. Can you tell her to come home?'”
Months went by and the search continued, the KlaasKids Foundation (named after Polly Klaas, who was 12 when she was kidnapped from her California home and killed) dispatching volunteers to aid investigators’ efforts. But they found no sign of Brittney. As Christmas approached, fliers were posted asking hunters to please keep their eyes peeled for any trace of her in the woods.
Chessie told Al.com she had decorated her tree that year with photographs of Brittney from past Christmases, her daughter’s favorite holiday.