For Denny Poole's birthday last month, his family ordered him a cake and lit the candles — though they knew he wouldn't be there to blow them out.
They gathered at the last place the teenager was seen, 30 kilometres out of town and released balloons into the air with prayers for his return.
"He would have turned 15," said his oldest sister, Alisha.
Denny was last seen March 12, after spending all night trying to "jog" the 75 kilometres between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John with his best friend, to meet a girl they met on Facebook.
They got turned around, and frustrated, and split up after an argument.
His friend came home — but Poole hasn't been seen since.
Big sister Alisha Poole, 23, wants people to know her little brother usually made good choices and did not have a habit of disappearing.
"He was really really attached to the family," calling his three older sisters all the time.
This time, though, was different. He told their grandmother he was staying over at his best friend's house that Friday, which he was allowed to do, if his chores were done. Instead, they left town.
"They usually do exactly what they say they're going to do, but they took off on this little adventure instead."
The next morning, after spending the whole winter night on foot in sweatshirts without food or water, the boys called again — saying they were still at the friend's house and just fine.
"But actually they weren't fine, and actually they weren't even in Dawson," said Alisha.
Later that day, the family learned through a Facebook message what had happened, and when the RCMP went to find the teenagers — there was only one.
"He was heading towards home, is where he was last seen," south of the Kiskatinaw River Bridge on Highway 97, said Alisha Poole. "We actually found some of his tracks. It's like at that point he just disappears."
Trying to raise reward
The RCMP file remains active and open, and according to Alisha Poole, they've exhausted all their resources trying to find the boy: a helicopter search, dogs, 60 officers walking shoulder-to-shoulder, looking for clues.
"They're at as much of a loss as we are for trying to figure out what the hell happened to him because they have nothing to go on."
A second search by the family and volunteers was also fruitless.
Now, Alisha Poole is trying to raise money for a reward for information about what has happened to Denny.
"Unfortunately ... money talks. So we're thinking, maybe somebody's like, oh, there's actually something in it for me. Maybe I will come forward with my information. Maybe it will jog their memory."
"He's missing, and somebody knows what happened to him."
Anyone with information about the wanderings of Denny who have not reported them to police are asked to call Dawson Creek RCMP at 1-250-784-3700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-22-8477.
Denny is a First Nations youth who is described by RCMP as approximately five-feet-seven-inches tall, weighing 120 to 130 lbs., with short black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a grey sweater with red lettering that says "DGK," black jeans, running shoes and a black backpack.