IT'S been 20 years since Jessica Small was abducted from Kelso but for her family, the pain is as raw as if it happened yesterday.
Jessica had been at an amusement parlour on Russell Street with her best friend Vanessa Conlan before they accepted a lift from a man they didn’t know in a white Commodore in the early hours of October 26, 1997.
A scuffle broke out when the car was in Hereford Street. Vanessa managed to flee and raise the alarm, but it was too late.
Jessica could be heard screaming and the car, with her in it, got away.
She hasn't been seen since.
An inquest into Jessica’s murder has since established in the hours, days and months following Jessica's abduction detectives involved in the case did nothing; key leads were not followed, and witnesses were ignored.
So much so that in 2014, when the matter went before Coroner Sharon Freund, she said the inadequacies of the initial investigation were “quite simply, an indictment on those initial investigating detectives”.
“In the days and weeks following Jessica's abduction ... their assumptions and prejudices compromised the investigation, caused immeasurable additional distress and hurt to the family of Jessica, and may also have put other future lives at risk,” the coroner found.
Two decades on Mrs Small said it was hard that so much time had passed, yet she is no closer to finding out what happened.
“You do wonder why, after all these years, nothing has come to light.”
She said there were no words to describe the pain of what she hand her family have been put through, but hopes that one day, the person who killed her daughter will be made accountable.
She said she will never give up on Jessica, and hopes that one day, she will be able to bring her daughter home, and lay her to rest.
“We, as Jessica’s family, really need people to come forward, and help the police with their investigations, because that’s all we have.”
Mrs Small said she lives in hope that one day someone will come forward with information which leads police to Jessica’s killer.
“I will never give up that hope,” she said. “I want Jessica brought home so she can be buried with dignity and as a family we can get some type of closure.”
Mrs Small said Jessica would never be forgotten by those who loved her.
“We talk to the kids about her, they know about Nan’s other daughter and about their aunty.”
Mrs Small said she, her daughter Bec and grandchildren would go down to the river at Hereford Street, about 800 metres from where Jess was last seen alive, and place some flowers in her memory.
“At this point we would just like to know [what happened] and get some answers,” she said.
“We just can’t keep living like this. It’s been 20 years, how long do we have to wait?”