SPANISH FORK — The family of a Utah teen who disappeared nearly 25 years ago still hopes to someday be able to lay her to rest.
"Our goal is to find her and bring her back here," Richard Davis said. "We still feel like she is out there, and something is not right, but if we can bring her here and find peace, that will be the end of the story."
The second day of May each year has become a day that Richard and Tamara Davis pause to honor their daughter Kiplyn, who disappeared from Spanish Fork High School in May 1995.
"She is still a 15-year-old girl to me," Richard Davis explained.
Kiplyn would have turned 40 in July. Even though a lot has changed in the family's town of Spanish Fork in 24 years, the Davises say the community support remains.
And despite the many years that have passed since Kiplyn disappeared, her parents have never given up the hope of finding her, they said Thursday — the 24th anniversary of her disappearance — as they spoke near a headstone they placed for her in the Spanish Fork Cemetery.
Foul play has always been suspected, and several boys from her high school were prosecuted years ago for hampering a revived investigation into her disappearance. Just one of them remains in prison. Timmy Brent Olsen is scheduled for a parole hearing in 2021 and could serve time in prison until 2026.
Kiplyn’s mom still brings flowers to the headstone each May 2 as a tribute. Kiplyn's sister, Karissa Lords, was just 9 years old when Kiplyn disappeared. With her family, she hopes someday Kiplyn will be laid to rest beneath the headstone.
"We will get our answers and our miracle, but someone has to step forward and say, 'This is where she is at,'" Lords said. "That is all they got to do, is say where she is at."
The Davis family says they have rejoiced in recent months with other families who have gotten answers about their missing loved ones, including Jerika Binks and Peggy Case.
The remains of Binks, a 24-year-old Spanish Fork woman who went missing in February 2018, were recently recovered in a ravine in Spanish Fork Canyon. Authorities believe she may have died there after becoming injured in the steep terrain.
In May 2017, remains of the 28-year-old Case — who disappeared in 1988 after a party in Payson — were discovered in her home's backyard cellar in Spanish Fork. The boyfriend she shared the home with, Michael Ignatius Kufrin, was charged with murder in July 2017. He remains in Salt Lake County Jail while the case is pending.
"We are very happy for (the victims' families)," Richard Davis said. "We know what we are going through and what they have been going through, so we’re glad they finally had some closure with their lives."
Despite all of the heartbreak over the many years of hoping to find Kiplyn, Davis says his family does see a silver lining in their tragedy.
"It has also changed our lives for the better and made us better people," he said. "I think she is helping us do that. We are involved in our community (more) than we ever were before."