She says she believes race may have played a role in pushing her sister's case to the back burner. Now, her family is working with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and to give the search new life.
The last time anyone saw 16 year-old Jeffery Lynn Smith, she was walking home from school with her boyfriend. Tuesday, for the first time in the 25 year investigation, cadaver dogs and search teams scoured three overgrown, wooded areas near her family's old apartment in Hot Springs.
Cpl. McCrary Means said, "Even though it's a cold case we do still work on it and it might be a new detective that's working on it, its important to us and its important to the family. We do want to get some type of closure, whatever the outcome is."
Soon after Smith's disappearance, the family reported Smith's boyfriend pawned one of her most cherished gifts, a ring from her mother.
Still, the trail turned cold and her family moved to Pennsylvania. We talked to her sister Lisa Murray on the phone.
Smith's sister Lisa Murray said, "It's been a long time coming but this search has actually happened and that's a step in the right direction to hopefully getting the answers we've been seeking as to what happened to my sister."
Murray suspects her sister's boyfriend may have killed her. Since Smith's disappearance he's served time for shooting another girlfriend. But police say there have been no arrests, no suspects and no tangible movement in the case, until Tuesday's search.
Murray said, "Thank God with technology, time doesn't have to be a barrier to us finding answers. If she is there, I'm praying she is discovered so we can move forward in getting justice for her."
Cadaver dogs from Louisiana spent about 5 and half hours looking over three wooded areas in Hot Springs. Investigators have yet to release the findings.