SWEET VALLEY, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The family of a Luzerne County woman who went missing nearly 20 years ago is hoping an ongoing criminal investigation may help solve her mysterious disappearance.

22-year-old Phylicia Thomas from the Sweet Valley area vanished without a trace in 2004.

Now her family says State Police activity at a property in Wyoming County has given them renewed hope.

The I-Team confirmed that a search warrant has been filed in connection with the State Police activity at the property in Noxen Township.

That investigation caught the eye of the Thomas family and friends who just want answers in the disappearance of Phylicia.

“I just pray to God every day that she’s going to be found,” said Pauline Bailey, Phylicia Thomas’s mother

Bailey says when she heard about and saw the State Police activity at this property in Noxen Township.

She could only think about her 22-year-old daughter Phylicia who went to a party in the Sweet Valley area on the night of February 11 of 2004 and never returned home.

“Are you optimistic holding out hope you’ll find out what happened to your daughter?” Eyewitness News I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick asks.

“Yes, I will I won’t stop until I do,” said Bailey.

“How do you hold it together after all these years?” asks Mehalshick.

“I have my grandchildren, my family, just stood with them and just pray,” Bailey replied.

State Troopers were at the property of Simon Automotive last Thursday and Friday we saw heavy equipment digging behind a garage on the property.

State police will only say it’s an ongoing criminal investigation, Wyoming County District Attorney Joe Peters tells I-Team.

He too could not comment so as not to jeopardize that investigation.

Sources close to the investigation confirm with Eyewitness News that a search warrant has been filed in connection with state police activity, but that search warrant has been sealed by the court.

The one-time owner of the property, John Simon, and his girlfriend were convicted on charges in connection with a 2003 homicide of a Wilkes-Barre man.

Simon was convicted of robbery and inflicting serious bodily injury.

The victim was found in a wooded area on state game lands in Wyoming County. Both served prison time.

According to court documents, Simon was paroled in 2019.

The Thomas family and friends say they are closely watching this investigation.

“We’re hopeful that maybe might be Phylicia out there. We’re not sure, they are not saying anything but were hopeful every time there is an investigation going on like this,” said Judy Lorah Fisher, a Thomas family friend.

Eyewitness News must point out that no one has been accused of wrongdoing in connection with the State Police investigation at the property near Noxen.

Eyewitness News once again reached out to the owner and have not heard back.