The Forever Girl: Four-year old Cindy Williams was taken from her Hamilton Mountain apartment in the summer of 1974

Smiling little girl on a beach; sun-kissed mop of blond hair.

See her in glimpses: Tartan dress, white socks and sneakers; a newborn in the arms of her beaming older sister.

Do not let the eye linger on the pictures.

Shield the heart, do not dwell on life dangling by a thread, on darkness that violates understanding and casts a shadow on a community.

Pigtails, hugging a teddy bear.

It’s been a long time since the photo albums were opened here, in this house, which sits on a slip of land surrounded by cold grey water.

Dissolve to black and white: pyjamas, bare feet, a Christmas tree.

Cindy liked to climb. She liked popcorn and playing with friends. She didn’t like hearing the word no.

“When will you start to behave and be good?”

“Oh, someday, Daddy.”

Cellophane crackles peeling back a protective sheet in the album, pictures developed decades ago exposed to air, the edges curling as though the past is recoiling like a warning.

The killer tried to make Cindy go away.

Today she would be 46 years old.

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