(NewsNation) — On a hot July day, a group of friends and family took to the water in innertubes to remember Kortne Stouffer, whose disappearance remains a painful mystery that haunts her family.
“This is just kind of one of my favorite days of the year because we get to celebrate her. And we get to keep her name and memory out there and do something that she loved to do,” said Kortne’s sister, Kerstin Jennings.
The family has been looking for Kortne since she vanished in 2012. Kortne’s father, Scott Stouffer, said even people he doesn’t know have joined the effort to find Kortne.
“You look and see some of the same people been here 11 years in a row. Some of the people were our family and close friends, and some I’d never known before. It’s incredibly humbling,” Scott said.
Kortne was 21 when she vanished from her apartment in Palmyra, Pennsylvania during the early hours of July 29, 2012.
“It all goes back to some of the people that were around her that night,” Scott said.
The night before her disappearance, Kortne hosted a get-together at her apartment.
Investigators say a neighbor called police and Kortne’s boyfriend was arrested. Upset, Kortne and a group of acquaintances headed to downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to the now-closed Hardware Bar.
Kortne reportedly got into an altercation with a man who she believed had stolen money from her in the past. Then around 3 a.m., Kortne and a friend returned to her apartment.
An argument broke out with the neighbors and police were called. Palmyra police ended the argument and Kortne and her male friend went inside.
But a short time later, another 911 call came in, complaining about stomping and yelling coming from her apartment.
When police arrived for the third time, shortly after 4 a.m., they said all was quiet and dark, so they left.
Kortne’s friend told her family they went to sleep around 4 a.m., and when he woke up at 7 a.m. Kortne wasn’t there, so he left.
When Kortne didn’t show up to meet her family at the Lebanon-area fair, they went to check on her. They found her purse, keys, phone and car but no sign of Kortne.
Despite searching her home and car, surrounding areas and even a local lake, after a false tip that she was there, Kortne’s family say all they have are more questions.
“I just don’t believe for one second that many people can be involved with my daughter that night, in such a short period of time, and have no information and have no idea what happened to her,” Scott said.
Investigators have said everyone in contact with Kortne that night was interviewed multiple times. They have also confirmed looking into two break-ins at Kortne’s apartment before her disappearance. But because the case is an open investigation, they wouldn’t reveal any details.
In 2022, to mark 10 years since Kortne’s disappearance, her family and friends sat down with a local production company to talk about their fondest memories. The video is just one thing they’ve done to keep Kortne’s memory strong.
“One day, we will know what happened to her. And there will be justice served,” Jennings said.
The family has sold T-shirts to raise money, building up a large reward fund. They hope their continued efforts to keep her case in the spotlight will someday bring Kortne home.
“Eleven years later, do the right thing. You know, there’s still $100,000 for the person that does the right thing,” Scott said.