A time progression photo of what Cox would look like now, at age 37.
In the summer of 1997, Cox’s disappearance was huge at UNT and in the City of Denton.
She was a young mother going to school and making a life for her daughter. Then, one day, 17 years ago, Kelli Cox disappeared. What happened to her is still a mystery.
Now, Cox’s daughter and her family have a new picture they’re sharing as they continue to search for Cox.
In the summer of 1997, Cox’s disappearance was huge at UNT and in the City of Denton, and there were search parties in the days and months that followed.
"I believe she's out there somewhere and we just need to bring her home,” said Kelli’s mother, Jan Bynum.
Not a day goes by that Bynum doesn't think about her daughter and where she might be.
"Is today the day she's gonna come through the door?” said Bynum. “Is today the day she's gonna call, or is today the day I'm gonna get answers?”
When she disappeared, Cox was a student at UNT and mother to a 19-month-old baby girl, Alexis. Cox was last seen at a Conoco gas station on July 15, 1997.
Over the years, that Conoco has been turned into a car wash.
A time progression photo of what Cox would look like now, at age 37, was recently posted on website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Bynum hopes someone will see it and give her the answers she's been looking for.
"It's always that hope, that oh my gosh, maybe something happened and she ended up somewhere and someone's gonna go, ‘Oh wow, I do know that young lady,’” said Bynum.
Back in 1997, Cox had just finished touring the Denton Police Department with her class when she realized she had locked her keys in her car.
She called her boyfriend. When he arrived, her car was there, but the young college student was gone.
Earlier this month, Alexis graduated from high school.
"It does look like it could definitely be something that she looks like now,” said Alexis.
Alexis says her mother's disappearance is very much a part of her life.
"It's overwhelming to think about, you know, what I mean, just if she were to walk in or get a phone call or anything like that,” said Alexis. “I think mainly I just want, you know, answers."
Bynum still keeps a candle in a window at her home and says she will until Cox comes home.
"I will never ever give up that hope that we're gonna find her,” said Bynum.
Denton police say the case is very much open, and they welcome new pictures like this and anything that helps generate leads in the case.
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