ORLANDO, Fla. - Who killed Kristin Sandberg? And why?
It's two questions that Sandberg's mother and sister desperately want answers for.
Kristin Sandberg disappeared in October 1997, and her body was found in November 1997 in a field off Apopka Blvd. It took nearly a decade for authorities to positively identify her remains.
Twenty-five years later, police have no suspects and no clues in her death.
"I want to remember her when she was younger, you know? She was so smart, she was funny," said Sandberg’s sister Terri Gagne.
Her mom, Elsie, said she spoke with her daughter last – and had planned on seeing her soon.
"We went around, all of us, checked with friends, phone numbers, and everything, and we just never heard from her," she said. What happened? Why?
Back in the late 1990s, police released a sketch of the woman, at the time, her identity unknown. But, it did catch the attention of Sandberg's sister.
"So right away I called the number, spoke to the hotline, whatever, they convinced me that it wasn’t her. Tried to convince me it wasn’t her," she said. "The height was wrong. It said something about being of Hispanic or Native American descent."
Still, the family kept investigating on their own, even obtaining Kristin's dental records to compare to the woman's remains that were found. Authorities said it was Kristin, until 2006.
Sept. 11, 2006, nearly a decade after Sandberg went missing, police walked up to Elsie's door and her know that the remains were Kristin's.
"There was a police officer, a chaplain, and a sheriff," Elsie said. "It had been so long, that I got emotional, but didn’t fall apart right then."
Her family acknowledges that Kristin made some poor choices. She was arrested for theft and prostitution, and Her family believes she may have been involved in drugs. Still, why did it take so long to identify her?
Her family wonders if it was those choices that impacted how her case was investigated.
"So maybe her case wasn’t important? I don’t know. That’s how we felt, and I’m sure detectives didn’t feel that way but that’s how we felt. It wasn’t getting enough attention," her sister, Terri, said.
Kristin's ashes are at her mother's house, where a mother's heart still hurts.
"I think that if she had been on the right path she could have made a difference because she was so smart," her sister said, adding that there is no closure because her sister isn't coming back.
"When she was missing, and then I found out what happened to her, people would say ‘oh at least you have closure.' No, I don’t. This is an unsolved crime," she said.
FOX 35 reached out to Apopka Police Department repeatedly for an update on Sandberg's case, and did not receive a response.