Friday marked the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of sixteen-year-old Shelly-Anne Bacsu from Hinton, Alberta.

Shelly-Anne was last seen walking west along Highway 16 after leaving a friend’s house at a Hinton trailer park around 8:00 p.m. on May 3, 1983.

Shelly-Anne’s mother, Muriel Bacsu, says she spoke with her daughter only a few minutes earlier when she called to say she was on her way home, and to make a special request for a Hungarian noodle dish she loved.

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Shelly-Anne was last seen walking along Highway 16 after leaving a Hinton trailer park on May 3, 1983 (re-enactment) (CBC Archive)

But she never made it home.

In the week that followed, Hinton RCMP officers found some of Shelly-Anne’s belongings, but the case was never solved.

Now, 30 years later, Shelly-Anne’s parents say they will never stop searching.

Bacsu calls the last three decades a waking nightmare.

"Some people would think that perhaps after 30 years it would get easier — but it doesn't. It gets harder," said Bacsu. "I don’t want to go to my grave not knowing."

"I don’t care if we never find the guys who did it — or  the guy — whoever's responsible. I don’t care," she said. "What I care about is bringing her home."

"A star in our eyes"

Bacsu describes her daughter as a normal teenager who loved Christmas, who was always willing to lend a hand — adding that Shelly-Anne "drew people to her."

"I feel blessed that she was given to us for 16 years. She’s a star in our eyes."

"If somebody was having a hard day, she’d just pick them right up. She didn’t care who they were, what they were. She did not care if they came from a wealthy family or if they were the poorest ones in town," said Bacsu. "And I think that’s what got her into [trouble]. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"That’s why Shelly-Anne isn’t with us today."

Bacsu says even though the family has now accepted the fact Shelly-Anne will likely not be found alive, they still want to know what happened to her thirty years ago.

"I was bitter for so many years," she said. "I have to let go, and I have to go with what we have to work with now." 

"The only thing that worries me is what she went through," she said, "but I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. She wouldn’t want that. She would want us, as a family, to go on and to do things and celebrate things and to celebrate her life."

Ongoing investigation

RCMP have interviewed numerous persons of interest in the three decades since Shelly-Anne’s disappearance.

"Although time has passed, we remain committed to finding Shelly-Anne," said Hinton RCMP Cpl. Trevor Somers in a media release Thursday.

"As in those early days of her disappearance, we continue to encourage anyone with information to come forward. Our hope is that someone will help us solve the mystery surrounding her disappearance."

And Bacsu says she remains hopeful that answers will come.

"People talk about closure — there’s no such thing as closure," she said. "It would be peace."

Shelly-Anne would now be 46 years old.

RCMP are asking anyone with information about Shelly-Anne Bacsu's disappearance to contact the RCMP or Crimestoppers.