While Nicola Bulley’s disappearance continues to mystify the nation, her loved ones’ agony of simply not knowing is a feeling shared by other families across the country.
They are the parents, brothers, sisters and children of the UK’s other still missing people who will have looked at this latest case with a sense of tragic familiarity.
Around 170,000 people go missing here every year and some are never found again: their fate shrouded in the mists of time.
Genette Tate: August 19, 1978
Schoolgirl Genette Tate had stepped out from her home in Aylesbeare, Devon, on a bright Saturday afternoon in August 1978 for her paper round like every other weekend.
On her distinctive blue Kalkhoff bike, she rode to the nearby White Horse Inn to start her work and even met two of her friends for a chat just after 3.15pm.
But for school pals Margaret Heavey and Tracey Pratt saying goodbye to her as she left them to finish off the round would be the last time they would see her.
Ten minutes later they came across her bike lying on the floor, newspapers spilled across the ground and Genette never to be seen again.
From that moment, the little girl became the face of one of the country’s most notorious missing people’s cases.
Unlike some cases, the police acted incredibly quickly and mounted a huge search, including an RAF helicopter.
The village hall became an impromptu investigation centre but as hours turned to days there was little to suggest where Genette could have been.
Two holidaymakers staying in the picturesque village came forward to tell police they had seen a man in a car where the girls had been.
That vehicle was never traced and the person behind the wheel never identified.
But by the end of the 1990s serial child-killer Robert Black was linked to the case by police, who had questioned him about it earlier that decade.
In 2007 Devon and Cornwall Police submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service but it said there was not enough evidence to charge him.
Then when Black was convicted in 2011 of the 1981 abduction and murder of Jennifer Cardy, nine, the hope was it could reopen investigations.
But after Black died in prison in August 2016 police submitted another file, but it said it would not make a decision on it.