Before she disappeared, Brookelyn Farthing would bake nearly every night.
“She was tiny, but she just loved sweets,” Shelby Walker, Brookelyn’s mother, told Dateline. “She’d bake a lot of brownies then bring them up to my room and we’d all sit and talk on my bed. Those were the good days that I’m missing so much.”
It’s been three long years since Brookelyn has baked in her family’s kitchen. The anniversary of her disappearance was this past Wednesday, and little is still known as to what happened to her.
Brookelyn, 18 at the time, vanished on June 22, 2013. She had sent a string of texts to friends including one stating, “I’m scared.”
The night she was last seen, Brookelyn went with her younger sister, a cousin and some friends to a party outside Berea, Kentucky. After some time, the other girls decided they were going to head home. Brookelyn stayed behind.
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“She had another friend at the party, so it wasn’t strange for her to want to stay,” Shelby told Dateline. ”The girl was supposed to give Brookelyn a lift home. But after a small fight – Shelby believes it may have been about a boy – the girl left without her.
That’s when the story gets a bit bizarre.
“Another of her friends had too much to drink and needed a ride home,” Shelby told Dateline. Shelby said another man at the party was friends with her daughter’s former fiancé and offered Brookelyn his car to drive the friend home. After Brookelyn dropped the boy off, she returned with the vehicle to the man's house. That was reportedly the last place she was seen.
It was nearly 4:00 a.m. when several of her friends received text messages; including one saying she needed a ride home, ‘because I’m scared.’
“She texted her ex-fiancé for a ride home, but he didn’t get off work till like 6:30, 7:00 a.m.,” Shelby said. “But before he came and got her, he got a text from her phone saying she was going to another party.”
It was about 7:00 a.m. when the fire department received a call that the home at which Brookelyn was last seen was on fire. The owner of the house reportedly told authorities he had been outside moving some horses into a field, and when he returned, he saw the flames.
The blaze was extinguished before it destroyed the whole house. The couch was badly burned, and the fire left a hole in the floor. Officials found several of Brookelyn’s belongings inside, including her cowboy boots and some items of clothing. They did not, however, find Brookelyn.
Authorities launched a massive search in the days to follow, but little evidence turned up. Cadaver dogs were brought in, and divers combed the nearby bodies of water. Hundreds of people navigated the woods surrounding the home, but there was no sign of the missing teen.
To date, police have not named any persons of interest or suspects in the case, saying it remains an “open and active investigation.” Officials are once again asking anyone in the community with information to report it.
The lack of leads is discouraging to Brookelyn’s family. Despite the efforts put forward, they feel they are no closer to finding her than they were that first day.
“We never would have thought it would take this long,” Brookelyn’s mother Shelby told Dateline. “But, I guess, I’m the mother, so I’m not going to feel any better until I get my daughter back.”
If you have any information regarding Brookelyn’s case, you’re urged to call the Kentucky State Police at (859) 6232-2404.
Rachael Trost is an Associate Editor of social media and digital content for Dateline NBC and NBC News Specials. She started at Dateline in August 2014. Rachael graduated from The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, where she worked on numerous award winning broadcasts and publications. She currently lives in New York City.