On the last evening of her life, Hannah Hill never took the time to say why suddenly something had come over her - something that changed both her plans and her mood.
It apparently started with a phone call - and yet what prompted the call or what was said remains a mystery.
According to her mother, Hannah came home about 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 19, 1999 - 11 days shy of her 19th birthday - gave her mom a hug and changed into her pajamas in the basement bedroom of their home in Kenmore.
It was a sure sign she planned to retire early - or so her mother thought - because supper wasn't even on the table yet.
The next day was supposed to be her first as a full-time employee of Diebold Inc., and her mother said she was happy about that.
It seemed Hannah Hill had begun to make her way in life.
After Coventry High School, she had enrolled for training at Portage Lakes Career Center and had been placed in part-time jobs by a temporary agency, doing secretarial work.
She was paying for her own car - a 3-year-old, gold Geo Prizm, as well as the insurance to cover it.
So Thursday, May 20, was to be a day to remember.
But sometime during that night before, a phone call would trigger a series of events that would change everything.
Her mother, Kimberly Hill, said she never knew who called whom or what it was about.
By 10:30 p.m., though, Hannah Hill had doffed her PJs, redressed in the same brown corduroy pants and short-sleeved silk shirt she had worn to work that day, and left.
She took a little time in the bathroom to brush her hair, but she didn't bother to refresh her makeup.
"She had, like, a troubled look on her face," her mother would later recall, "like something was bothering her."
But she never said where she was going or why.
" 'Bye, Mom,' " her mother recalled her saying. " 'I'll see you later.' "
But she never did.
In the questions and the answers that would follow, it was never made clear exactly how much Elza and Kimberly Hill knew about the relationship their daughter had with 19-year-old Bradley Joseph Oborn.
But according to what police were told, it was both sexual and violent.
Her mother described Oborn simply as Hannah's boyfriend.
She later said she had never heard that there was an abusive relationship between the two.
She said she didn't know that he had attacked Hannah physically on numerous occasions.
She didn't know Hannah had been in a fight with him at some point on the same day she disappeared.
And she said she knew nothing about an explosive dispute her daughter had with Oborn on the night before that.
But police found out about it, for Oborn told them.
In fact, Oborn went to police headquarters Saturday morning, three days after her disappearance - to see what was being done to find her.
The officer he met, Detective Sgt. Jerry Hughes, said he knew nothing about a missing 18-year-old from Kenmore, but in the process of talking to Oborn, became suspicious of him.
"I just thought Brad was a little bit shaky," Hughes testified, because he came in "screaming, complaining about his girlfriend being missing and he had some scratch marks on him, so naturally I wanted to interview him to see what he could tell me."
During that visit, Hughes had photographs taken of Oborn showing that he still bore scratch marks on his arm, neck and face, which Oborn said Hannah Hill had inflicted on him during their fight.
When that fight took place, though, was never made clear.
For Oborn gave two different accounts, Hughes said.
Likewise, it never came to light in the investigation that followed, but on March 22, Hill and Oborn were asked to leave an apartment they leased on Lookout Avenue within three days or face eviction.
They were out by April 27, and on May 17 were ordered to pay $689.96 in back rent plus court costs.
Hannah Hill spent the evening of May 19 in her parents' home, her mother later testified, where she "hung out" in the basement until leaving about 10:30 p.m.
But according to Oborn's new roommate, Harold Pryor, at 7 p.m. that same night, May 19, Hannah Hill stopped by their apartment for about five minutes - just long enough to take two plastic bags of items and leave.
How Hannah Hill could have been at Oborn's apartment and the basement bedroom of her parents' Kenmore home at the same time was never explained.
By daybreak Thursday, May 20, on the eastern edge of Akron, something out of the ordinary had already been noted on Caine Road in Ellet.
Near the middle of the block-long, dead-end street, Jerry Reymann, a 35-year resident, had noticed an unfamiliar car parked across from his home - positioned in a way that would make it difficult for him to back out of his driveway.
Reymann, a retired trucker, said he knew every vehicle from his neighborhood and a gold Geo Prizm wasn't one of them.
So, as Thursday, May 20, unfolded, the car became the topic of conversation in the tiny neighborhood.
Did anybody know the driver who parked there sometime during the night and walked away?
Nobody had a clue.
Reymann said even his golden retriever, Reba, gave the car the once-over, but detected nothing amiss.
Nonetheless, Reymann became convinced something was wrong.
Peering through the windows, he could see a pack of Marlboro cigarettes on a Cleveland Indians jacket in the back seat and a set of keys locked inside and left on the console.
And for some reason, he said, he did something that bothers him to this day, something he wouldn't do again, knowing what he knows now - "something stupid," as he puts it.
"I knocked on the trunk and said: 'Anybody in there?' "
Kimberly Hill worried and waited.
The calls started that Thursday morning.
From Diebold - where her daughter's work as a temporary had blossomed into full-time employment - came the call from her boss.
She hadn't shown up for work and that was unlike her.
Brad Oborn, her boyfriend, was fretting too.
Hannah was supposed to pick him up and take him to work.
But she didn't show.
Kimberly Hill would later testify that Oborn "seemed very upset and in tears very concerned."
In fact, she said, he called all day long.
"Sometimes she would stay at a friend's house," her mother later told reporters, "and that's kind of what I thought, but she didn't take any clothes I really was up and down all night, hoping she'd come home, but she never did."
Kimberly Hill started fearing the worst with the word that Hannah had not shown up for work and had not phoned to say why.
"That's how I knew something wasn't right," her mother said, "because Hannah never missed work, and if there had been a problem, she would have called home to notify me - if she was able to."
Finally, at 9 p.m. that Thursday, Kimberly Hill made it official - filing a missing-person report with Akron police.
And yet nothing she offered that evening was sufficient to convince them that something horrendous may have happened to her daughter.
Police would later say there was nothing to suggest her daughter had met with foul play.
So the report - like many of the other 200 missing-person reports filed with Akron police each month - was not entered into the department's computer system for days.
It would turn out to be the starting point of a disturbing series of missteps by Akron police that in time would devolve into a bungled murder case and ultimately a suspicious prosecution and mistrial.
On Friday, when Jerry Reymann made the first call to police to complain about the abandoned gold Geo Prizm, he had never heard of Hannah Hill and knew nothing about a missing Kenmore woman who hadn't been seen for two days.
Moreover, Akron police Patrolman Nicholas D. Ratkovic, who was sent to put a ticket on the car - a car which displayed her name on the rear windshield as well as the license plate holder - didn't know about her either.
The missing-person report was apparently somewhere in the Police Department, waiting to be entered into the computer system.
Reymann said the officer would tell him only that the car belonged to "somebody in Kenmore."
If the traffic officer had been kept in the dark about a missing person named Hannah Hill, though, the rest of the police force was likewise kept in the dark about his discovery of her car.
It would be days before the information he collected about her car - which he recorded on the traffic ticket - was ever entered into the department's computer.
Frustrated at the seeming indifference of police, and noting the name on the car, Reymann said he tried to find a phone number for anybody by the name of Hill in Kenmore, but all he could find was unlisted.
And so the gold Geo Prizm would sit on Caine Road, conspicuously out of place, for four more days.
On Tuesday, May 25, Akron police went public with their week-old missing-person report on Hannah Hill.
Maj. Paul Callahan, head of the detective bureau, would later explain: "We decided it was time to elicit some help from the media and from the community to see if anybody might have some information as to her whereabouts."
But still, residents of Caine Road couldn't seem to connect with Akron police.
Peg Farkas called after the 6 p.m. TV news on Tuesday, and was told to call back in the morning.
Reymann made another attempt after the 11 o'clock news that night, and got the same response.
Sue Pangburn, another Caine Road resident who got nowhere, went outside before daybreak Wednesday to recheck her recollection after the 5 a.m. telecast.
"I'll never forget it as long as I live, because I got the creepiest feeling," she said. "I saw her picture on the news, they said her car - a gold car or whatever it was - was missing.
"I walked out there with a flashlight, saw the car and thought to myself: 'Oh, my God!' You know how you get that really weird sensation?
"So I immediately called the police and I said: 'That is her car, and it's sitting here at 635 Caine Road.' They said at that point that they would dispatch it to the detectives when they came in," Pangburn said.
Hers was at least the fifth call to alert police about the car.
And yet it was apparently a sixth request - from a city worker who also lives on Caine Road - that finally got through.
Patrolman Robert T. Vanek was the first officer on the scene that Wednesday.
He identified the car as Hannah Hill's and summoned the detective bureau.
Many of the neighborhood residents were waiting outside, talking among themselves as the swarm of detective cars rushed to the scene.
Farkas, whose home was closest to the car, said detectives seemed to be surprised at what they found in the trunk.
"They opened and closed it right away," she said.
According to Pangburn, when the department's mobile crime scene unit arrived, the trunk was opened a second time.
"As soon as they popped that trunk, they yelled: 'Everybody inside!' " Pangburn said.
"We were like: 'Why?' " she recalled. "We knew she was there."
Akron police were in a predicament.
After asking the news media for help in spreading the word about Hannah Hill's disappearance, they were forced to admit a day later that her whereabouts had been under their noses all along.
Worse yet, calls telling them so had been ignored.
Her body, naked from the waist down, was in the car trunk.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic would write letters of apology to irate Ellet residents and ultimately would single out three civilian workers in the city's joint dispatch center who were blamed for the blunders and suspended briefly.
But no police officers or their supervisors would be punished or criticized for the episode.
Within 24 hours, the department would have news that would help refocus public attention away from the bungled weeklong hunt for Hannah Hill.
On Wednesday, May 26, police claimed to have only a body, but no suspects and few clues.
But by 10 a.m. the following day, the mystery had been solved and the killer was in custody.
Case closed - or so it seemed.
Ohio.com extra: Read the Akron Beacon Journal's 2001 eight-
Ohio.com extra: Read the Akron Beacon Journal's 2001 eight-