When she thinks about her daughter Kelly Morrissey, missing since 1984, Iris Olmstead says she still imagines her as being 15 years old.
"I think to myself now, 'I don't know what she sounds like,' " Olmstead said Friday in a telephone interview from her home in Vermont. "Every time I see a young girl, I look to see if it's Kelly, but she's not 15 anymore."
By now, Kelly would be 41.
"What would she be like today?" her mother wondered. "She would be working. She would have children."
Kelly was last seen on the night of June 12, 1984, after she was stood up by two boys who she and her friend were supposed to meet at a gas station on Merrick Road in Lynbrook.
According to police reports, Kelly mentioned she might stop in at an arcade called Captain Video and began walking west along Merrick Road. She was not heard from again, and police presume she is not alive.
"It's just as if the sidewalks opened up and devoured her," said Kelly's stepfather, Paul Olmstead. The couple moved to Shaftsbury, Vt., in 2008, after Iris Olmstead spent more than two decades waiting and hoping for Kelly to return to their Lynbrook home.
This week, Nassau police said they recently have taken fresh interest in the unsolved case, upon finding that people were reminiscing about their days spent at the Hot Skates Rink in Lynbrook on the roller rink's Facebook page.
The topic of Kelly's disappearance arose among chatter on the social network about her and two other women who vanished from the same area of southern Nassau within months of Kelly's disappearance. Those two women's bodies - they both were strangled - were eventually found.
The two murders have never been solved, and police have not made a connection between the three cases.
Nassau police said they have not received any tips yet. The Facebook page set up by Hot Skates appeared to have been taken down by Friday evening.
A man who answered the phone at the rink said he did not know whether the page had been taken offline and declined to comment further.
All these years later, Iris and Paul Olmstead said they are heartened that police are using new technology to try to solve the case.
"We are not Facebook users, so we don't know anything about it," said Paul Olmstead. He added, "Every day we don't have closure. We would love to close the case."
Iris Olmstead said she is hoping this latest round of publicity will help to solve the mystery of her daughter's disappearance and ease her long-troubled heart.
"Somebody knows where Kelly is. She didn't disappear by herself," the mother said. "Nobody's ever come forward or said they had seen or heard anything. It's very odd."
The loss of a family member for so many years without answers is grueling for relatives, who can only wait and wonder and wish, Paul Olmstead said.
"If people think if it was one of their family members, also, they can imagine what we are going through," he said.