PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. -- Deborah Crawford's family, 600 miles from Atlanta, still has an uncomfortable connection to the metro area as their search for her killer enters its fifth year.
The hole in their lives continues to grow as the Paulding County Sheriff's Office hunts for a break in the case. It's a case that stretches across three counties. And, on Friday, there was an update.
A year and a half before her death, Crawford moved from Toledo, Ohio to Marietta, Georgia looking for a fresh start. She was last seen in August of 2013 at a Hotel in Bartow County.
Two months later, her badly decomposed remains were found in a shallow grave in northern Paulding County.
More than 4 years later, her death is still as much a mystery as it was then. Now, the Paulding County Sheriff's Office and Deborah's middle sister are telling this story in their own words.
"Around Oct. 18 of 2013, we had a couple hunters," sheriff's office Sgt. Ashley Henson said. "As they were walking through the woods, they came up behind a subdivision; they discovered a human body. ... The body was so badly decomposed, there wasn't a whole lot left other than the skeletal remains."
Those are descriptions that her sister Patricia Crawford-Cole will never be able to forget.
"It has really been a living hell because I just file it away," she said. "The people who did this, the person who did this, I literally want them to rot in hell."
Henson also recalls more of what investigation turned up that day.
"She was last seen at the Country Hearth Inn and Suites which is up off of Interstate 75 in Bartow County," he said. "We know that she had blunt force trauma to the head."
It took almost nothing to end a life.
"Quick blow and she was gone," her sister said.
Investigators continued searching for the motive. All they know is that there were hazards already connected to the course she was taking.
"Into some drug activity," Sgt. Henson said. "We don't know what else she was into but we do know it was a high-risk lifestyle."
It was a spiral her sister Patricia knows well.
"I think when my father died, our father died she just felt lost," she said. "We begged her not to go there because Atlanta's too busy - too much - we had no contact with her."
Sgt. Henson said that from that day forward, they've tried to bring answers to a family in need of them.
"They look to us as law enforcement to kind of put the pieces of the puzzle together and try to figure out who did it and put someone in jail," he said.
Patricia thinks the answer is out there - and her sister's killer.
"Someone knows something there," she said. "I believe before the Lord calls me home that we will find out who it is."
It's a hope shared by Henson.
"Somebody's going to have a memory or an urge or a desire to come forward and give us that key piece of information that we need."
"Those monsters will pay for it," Patricia said.