High profile homicide of Alberta teen Kelly Cook remains unsolved after 35 years

Click to play video: 'Kelly Cook’s family searches for closure 35 years after disappearance' Kelly Cook’s family searches for closure 35 years after disappearance
WATCH ABOVE: The disappearance of Kelly Cook is arguably the highest profile unsolved homicide case in Alberta's history. Thirty-five years after the 15-year-old vanished, her family still struggles to find closure. Nancy Hixt has the latest updates from family and police – Apr 21, 2016

For 35 years, the family of Kelly Cook has waited for answers. Decades have come and gone, but still, the 15-year-old’s death remains a mystery.

Marnie Kathol is Kelly’s younger sister. She fights back tears whenever she talks about her loss.

“I feel ripped off,” Kathol said. “I feel my family has been ripped off…and my family now–my children.”

“It’s shocking that we’re still sitting here 35 years later still talking about it, with no more answers than we had 35 years ago basically.”

Watch archive below: Files upon files fill RCMP shelves, but investigators said they were no closer to finding Kelly Cook’s killer on August 31, 2010 than they were in 1981. Nancy Hixt has the details of the mysterious case.

Click to play video: 'Archive: RCMP no closer to Kelly Cook murder than in 1981' Archive: RCMP no closer to Kelly Cook murder than in 1981
Archive: RCMP no closer to Kelly Cook murder than in 1981 – Apr 21, 2016

April 22, 1981 started out like a normal day in the small farming community of Standard, Alta., about 70 kilometres northeast of Calgary.

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Kelly got a phone call from a man using the name Bill Christensen, who said he wanted a babysitter. Another girl had turned him down, and gave him Kelly’s number.

Hours later, a car showed up at the Cook family home. That was the last time Kelly was seen alive.

“I remember going to bed and waking up probably after midnight and the police were already there,” Kathol said.

The RCMP started their investigation just four hours after Kelly was taken.

Watch archive video below: There was new hope in the case of the disappearance of Kelly Cook in September 2010, when police reopened their investigation less than 24 hours after a Global News story. Nancy Hixt reports.

Click to play video: 'Archive: Police reopen investigation into Kelly Cook murder' Archive: Police reopen investigation into Kelly Cook murder
Archive: Police reopen investigation into Kelly Cook murder – Apr 21, 2016

For weeks, searchers scoured rural properties and outbuildings.

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Two months later, Kelly’s body was found in an irrigation canal south of Taber. She had to be identified through dental records.

“We have a lot of questions, but it’s kind of scary to think that we might one day have the answers, and they might not be what we are looking for.”

Investigators have worked tirelessly on the case for decades.

There’s a special room dedicated to the files for the Cook homicide, it’s filled to the roof with boxes and boxes of evidence.

More than 2,000 possible suspects have been looked at, and police confirm the investigation remains active.

RCMP believe this was a well-planned crime.

They have a sketch of the man they believe is responsible, but no arrests have ever been made.

“It’s just life now,” said Kathol. “It’s just what we’ve had to learn to live with. There’s no acceptance in it, there’s no ‘closure,’ if you want to use that word.”

While the Cook family has always hoped for justice, after 35 years, they say the thought of an arrest is almost as scary as living with the mystery.

“If it all changed tomorrow and we had all those answers, I don’t know if any of us are prepared for that. Justice makes that individual accountable, but it doesn’t bring her home, it doesn’t change it.”

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A $100,000 reward is being offered by the Village of Standard for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Kelly’s killer. Anyone with information is asked to call the Serious Crimes Branch South Airdrie “K” (AB) Division at 403-420-4900 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.

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