FOR friends and family of Kylee-Ann Schaffer, the past 16 years have been a living nightmare since her disappearance on September 11, 2004.
Kylee-Ann was a social 19-year-old from the small town of Bellbrook, north west of Kempsey.
At the time of her disappearance, she had finished her schooling at Kempsey High School, moved out of home and was renting her own place in town while working at Charcoal Chicken.
She always had a smile and friends and family said she would put everyone else's needs before her own. They describe her as a genuine and compassionate person.
Kylee-Ann's mother, Sue-Ann Schaffer, smiles as she remembers her daughter.
"She would do anything for others, she was a very loving and caring girl," she says, as we sit at her dining room table with photos of Kylee-Ann decorating the wall behind us.
"She didn't have any enemies and she had a large group of friends."
The night before her disappearance, Kylee-Ann attended a party at a home just outside of Willawarrin on Wilsons Lane. According to witnesses who were at the party, the following morning at about 8 o'clock, Kylee-Ann told them she was going for a walk through bushland to get to her parents' house.
Peter and Sue-Ann Schaffer lived on a property at Midnight Creek, near Bellbrook, at the time of Kylee-Ann's disappearance.
Every morning I look at photos of her and ask, where are you?Sue-Ann Schaffer
"She had never walked home before, it was just very out of character for her," Sue-Ann said.
"If she needed to be picked up, she would have called us."
Close family friend, Kelly Pritchard, said it would have been a tough walk through bushland for the 19-year-old.
"As the crow flies it wouldn't be that far, but it's not an easy walk," she said.
At around lunchtime on Saturday, September 11, 2004, guests who had also stayed overnight at the party became concerned and began searching the property before alerting police.
By Sunday afternoon, neither her parents nor friends had made contact with Kylee-Ann.
A large scale land and air search was conducted which involved about 70 SES and RFS volunteers, family and friends on foot, trail bikes, horseback and four-wheel drives.
Acting Inspector Robert White was the officer coordinating the search following Kylee-Ann's disappearance and said they covered about 80 square kilometres of rugged terrain, bushland and fire trails with no sign of the teenager.
The official search was called off on September 16, 2004, but friends and family didn't give up hope of finding Kylee-Ann.
"We walked for months trying to find her after the official search ended. There were a lot of things that didn't add up and we just wanted to find any sign of her," Sue-Ann said.
Kylee-Ann hasn't been seen or heard from since September 11, 2004.
In 2010, six years after Kylee-Ann was last seen, the coroner ruled that the 19-year-old is in all likelihood deceased.
During the inquest into Kylee-Ann's disappearance and suspected death, presiding magistrate Wayne Evans ruled that on the balance of probabilities he was satisfied Kylee-Ann was deceased, but how, where, and by whom, he could not determine.
Sue-Ann said it was difficult to come to terms with the ruling.
"I'm a strong woman, but it's hard. It's hard not having any answers about what happened to my daughter," she said.
We really want anyone who might know what happened to come forward.Sue-Ann Schaffer
Officers investigating the 19-year-old's disappearance established four hypotheses as to what might have happened to Kylee-Ann - self harm, misadventure (an accident), foul play or a new identity.
Mr Evans ruled on the balance of the evidence available she was deceased.
He said she had not been in contact with her family since the night of her disappearance.
"They were a close family and there is no reason she wouldn't have contacted them," he said at the inquest in 2010.
Similarly, there was no evidence she was suffering from an illness and she had not attended any health services seeking assistance.
Mr Evans said there was also no evidence her tax file number had been used since her disappearance or her bank accounts accessed.
Mr Evans extended his sincere sympathies to the Schaffer family and ordered Kylee-Ann's file be retained at the State Coroner's office.
Kylee-Ann's case still remains open despite the coroner's ruling 10 years ago, but no new information has been provided to police.
"We really want anyone who might know what happened to come forward. We're not looking for punishment, we just want to know what happened to Kylee-Ann," Sue-Ann said.
"It can be anonymous, but just any information would be a great help to our family."
Kylee-Ann's disappearance significantly impacted the lives of her family and friends who have now spent the past 16 years wondering what happened to the girl who always had a smile and loved wearing black.
Kylee-Ann's father, Peter Schaffer, sadly passed away in 2015 without knowing what happened to his daughter.
Ahead of what would have been Kylee-Ann's 35th birthday on August 24 this year, Sue-Ann is hoping someone will come forward.
"I'd like to ask anyone out there who has any information, no matter how small, to come forward so that I can have closure," Sue-Ann said.
"Her father never had closure, but it's not too late to come forward so we can finally know what happened to Kylee-Ann."
This sentiment is echoed by friends of the Schaffer family.
"We would like to ask anyone who might know something, to please put themselves in Sue-Ann's shoes and understand what she's going through. Please come forward if you have any information," Kelly said.
Anyone with any information regarding the events leading up to Kylee-Ann's disappearance on September 11, 2004, is urged to contact Kempsey Police on 6561-6199 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333-000.