Every year, Jessica Small's mother, sister, her nephews and nieces she never got the chance to meet, place flowers near the Hereford Street River in honour of her short life.
The waterway — actually a small stretch of the Macquarie River — is named as such by locals, because it is intersected by Hereford Street.
It sits less than a kilometre from where Jessica was last seen screaming, as her abductor sped away with her trapped in his car, reports news.com.au.
One warm Saturday night in October, 15-year-old Jessica Small and her friend Vanessa Conlan were hanging out at a video game arcade on busy Russell Street, in Bathurst.
As Saturday night stretched into Sunday morning, they decided to hitchhike home, accepting a lift from a stranger: A man who drove a white Commodore.
As his nefarious motives became clear, the two girls panicked, then struggled.
Vanessa was able to free herself from the vehicle by ripping her hair from the driver's hand.
She ran away and frantically yelled for help, banging on the door of a nearby house. She was too terrified to turn back, but assumed Jessica was running behind her. She wasn't.
As Jessica screamed for her life, the Commodore sped away, and Jessica was never seen again.
This was 21 years ago. Jessica's mother is no closer to learning the fate of her daughter.
"You do wonder why, after all these years, nothing has come to light," Ricki Small said last year, on the twentieth anniversary of her daughter's abduction.
POLICE REFUSE TO TAKE THE CASE SERIOUSLY
It's been a heartbreaking and frustrating two-decade stretch for the family, filled with false hopes, alarmingly bungled leads and dangerous assumptions.
Jessica and Vanessa were dismissed by investigators as troubled teens and from the start, police questioned Vanessa's version of events, despite an investigating officer describing her years later as crying, trembling and terrified.
"It took us about five or six minutes to calm her down to a point where she was reasonably coherent," he said.
Incredulously, police based their entire investigation on the premise that the pair had faked the entire encounter, and that Small had ran away to escape her mother, with whom she was fighting at the time.
A report made shortly after Small and Conlan were abducted complained of a suspicious white Commodore that barrelled around a corner at high speed with its headlights off, almost causing a crash in the early hours of the morning.
Another witness detailed a similar vehicle that went down a never-used bush track near her house, before parking and remaining in an extremely secluded area for a long time.
Both reports were ignored.
Two days later, Robert Fitzpatrick called police and told them he witnessed the struggle on Heresford Street, heard the woman screaming from within the vehicle and heard "a little bang" before the car sped away.
He mentioned it was a white Commodore, and gave a detailed play-by-play of the encounter, which occurred 30 metres from his house.
After he didn't hear back from the police, he went into the station and gave a one-paragraph statement. This lead was ignored.
The man told an inquest he felt the police didn't want to take his statement. It took until 2007 for police to take a more detailed statement and only after a strike force was formed to re-investigate the case.
Another witness told police of a former workmate in the Bathurst area who disposed of a white Holden Commodore at the same time Jessica disappeared. This lead was ignored.
State Forests employee Glen Christie Johnson found a pair of female underwear, a blanket and a bottle of bleach in an isolated area near Bathurst. The towel and underwear were covered in what appeared to be blood.
These items were never tested and were destroyed by police in 1998. The first Jessica's mum learned of this discovery was during a 2014 inquest.
William Ross, an employee of Amuse Me games, gave a detailed description of a guy who was loitering at the arcade that same night, who asked about Small. The man worked at the Oberon Timber Mill and commented to Ross that Small "looks like she's out for a good time".
Police didn't follow up this lead for 15 years; when they finally looked into it, they zeroed in on two men, one of which was a timber mill employee who was cleared. The other matched the Amuse Me worker's description and records show he left Bathurst for Sydney mere hours after Small's abduction.
Police investigated him, but he claimed he wasn't in the area at the time. His banking records suggest otherwise. He left his accommodation that morning, without handing in his key.
Time was clearly of the essence. Still, the man is yet to be charged.
In 2012, police requested that William Ross, the Amuse Me employee, come forward again, as he "may be able to assist police".
This suggests they never took down his personal details when he first spoke to police, the day after Jessica Small's abduction, and were only then, 15 years later, looking into this lead thoroughly.
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
To say the case was initially mishandled is an understatement.
In 2014, Coroner Sharon Freund called the investigation that proceeded in the days following Jessica's abduction, "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."
Mr. Spartalis, Counsel for NSW Police, made a huge concession during the inquest, stating: "My client does acknowledge that the early investigation, that is the investigation from 1997 to 2007, was deficient in a number of respects, largely because of the structure of the police force as it then was - and probably based on the views of the investigators at the time.
"There were witnesses that should have been followed up, but were not. The significance of those witnesses we will never know. They may have been good, they may have been bad, but nevertheless they should have been followed up..."
To admit that a ten-year police investigation into a suspected murder was deficient is not a light matter.
In 2012, police acted upon what they called "new information" and pinpointed an isolated area near Bathurst they believed Small's body could have been buried.
This was the same area a witness reported a suspicious white Commodore sitting for an extended period, information the police received the very same night Jessica was abducted. This was not new information, but rather, newly-acted-upon information.
"We have conducted extensive inquiries in recent years and new information suggests a car similar to the one Jessica was abducted in was observed in a riverside area at O'Connell just hours after the abduction," Detective Sergeant Peter Smith told the press.
"Detectives were told the car was driven to a secluded area near the Fish River, off the O'Connell Road, O'Connell, halfway between Bathurst and Oberon. The car remained parked there for a considerable period of time."
A two-day excavation of the area revealed nothing. Still, at least the police were no longer operating under assumptions of a runaway teen.
"I think the reality is people now realise she's been missing for 15 years, and she hasn't run away," Smith admitted.
Meanwhile, Ricki Small and her family just want answers.
Ricki has long-accepted Jessica is dead, but keeps her memory alive by talking to her grandchildren about their Aunty Jess.
"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."
"At this point we would just like to know and get some answers.
"We just can't keep living like this. How long do we have to wait?"