ST. JOHN PARISH, La. - It has been a grueling two and a half weeks for family and friends of a missing Reserve couple.
Kenneth and Lakeitha Joseph's loved ones cooked plates of jambalaya, fried chicken and fish Friday afternoon to help raise money to boost the Crimestoppers reward for information on their whereabouts.
'It's been really hard but we just continue to pray and ask God to bring them back home to us safely,' said Kenneth Joseph's sister, Theresa Green.
The Josephs were last seen February 18. As they often did, the Reserve couple borrowed a family member's silver Dodge Caravan that night. It was discovered more than a week later in good condition at an apartment complex in College Park, Ga. A spokesman for the St. John Parish Sheriff's Office said the vehicle has been processed and remains in Atlanta. He would not say if authorities uncovered any clues inside. The couple has an aunt in Georgia, said Capt. Dane Clement, but had not contacted her since they disappeared.
Family members say when they went to check on the couple February 19, the door to the couple's home on Homewood Place Reserve appeared to be locked, but was unlocked later that day.
Inside the home, family members said, the drawers and doors were left open.
The couple's close-knit family says, Kenneth and Lakeitha Joseph would never willingly disappear without so much as a phone call.
'They wouldn't have had any reason to go to Georgia without letting us know,' said Green.
Friday morning, nearly 30 people used a helicopter, boats, and 4-wheelers to scour an area along Old Highway 51 between Laplace and Hammond. Their search, prompted by a tip from the family, turned up nothing.
Meanwhile, friends and family are working to spread the word of their loved ones' disappearance. They have made t-shirts and fliers with pictures of the couple.
Kenneth Joseph's neighbor and good friend, Joshua Jones, said he has made 900 fliers so far, posting them from Gonzales to LaPlace.
'It's been real real crazy and stressful, not knowing if they're safe, not knowing when we're going to find them, if we'll ever find them dead or alive,' said Jones. 'A bad dream, you never thought in a million years it would happen. Like a movie.'
The St. John Sheriff's Office says it has exhausted all leads but a spokesman would not say whether foul play is suspected.
The family is praying for a break in the case soon.
'We love you and we miss you so much and we want you back home,' said Green.
If you have any information on Kenneth and Lakeitha Joseph's whereabouts, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
If you would like to help increase the Crimestoppers reward, you can donate to the Kenneth Joseph fund at any Capitol One bank.