She was missing for months, before a hunter discovered her remains in the Red River Gorge near the Powell County line.
Her cause of death still is undetermined and police haven't called it murder, but the parents of 27-year old Nicole Penix Vanzant have their own ideas of what happened and they want justice, still a year after the discovery of their daughter's body.
Nicole Penix Vanzant was last seen on January 19, 2009.
Her remains were found here in the Red River Gorge 3 months later, a year ago today, as the death investigation continues and her family seeks closure, the question still remains, what will be the final chapter in the mystery of who killed Nicole Penix Vanzant?
Vanzant disappeared just a month after celebrating her 27th birthday.
Her family visits her grave site every week.
The date of death on her tomb is the last day her mother would see her.
Tina Penix relives the day she dropped her daughter off at the Frenchburg Dollar General Store.
"I said ok, see you later, I love you, and she says ok, you too mom. And I'll always remember that. We always said that to each other."
But the hours following still remain a mystery.
Where did Vanzant go?
And why didn't she come home?
Police say Josh Brown, Vanzant's ex-boyfriend, picked her up but he claims he dropped her off on the side of a road after an argument… but Vanzant's family doesn't believe the story ends there.
At one point, Brown was named of person of interest, but no charges have been filed.
Kentucky State Police say this is still very much an active investigation, and they're asking anyone that may have information to come forward.
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