COVINGTON, Ky. — Paige Johnson went missing on Sept. 23, 2010, never to be seen alive again.
Dozens of her friends and family members gathered in Devou Park to honor her memory, but those present said while they got a lot of answers this year, closure is something they may never find.
“She should be 27 right now,” Paige’s mother Donna Johnson said.
For Paige’s mother and sister, every year for the past decade serves as a somber reminder of what could have been.
“In our minds, she’s just always going to be 17 and she’s never going to be able to get married or have any more kids,” Paige’s sister Brittany Haywood said.
Her family remembers her forever frozen in time by as a teenage girl full of talent and potential.
“It physically hurts from the inside out,” Donna Johnson said. “It’s an everyday thing for the rest of your life.”
For years, the family went without any answers.
“My biggest fear was dying without knowing,” Donna Johnson said.
That was until the police came to Johnson’s door on March 25 with information about the discovery of Paige’s remains.
“When he called me and I opened the door and I saw him I was just like, something just welled up in me,” she said. “I knew she was found and that feeling was so great.”
Johnson said knowing is important, but it will never be big enough to fill the void Paige’s death leaves behind.
“I thought that would bring closure, but that really hasn’t,” she said. “I don’t think that’s ever going to happen no matter what, but it did make me feel joy to know that she’s not out there alone anymore and that we get to bring her home.”
Haywood said Paige deserves to have her memory kept alive.
“She deserves everything good in life that she’s never going to have,” she said.
Paige Johnson’s family expects to be back in court next month.