ON November 15, 2003, Sandra Gant enjoyed a drink with two friends at the flat of a man they had only just met.

Sandra, 48, left and began the walk back to her home in Wellesley Road, Clacton.

She was never seen again.

A murder investigation was soon launched and four people were arrested, but no charges were ever brought.

Lacking concrete evidence, witnesses or a body, the investigation faltered and the trail went cold.

The mother-of-four had seemingly vanished without a trace.

Now, 15 years after the disturbing disappearance, her desperate family are still without answers. Lauren Redpath, Ms Gant’s youngest daughter, was 17 when her mother vanished.

While teenagers around her fretted over their studies and social circles, Lauren’s life began to collapse before her eyes.

She said: “When mum went missing I went off the rails.

“I ended up getting pregnant and had my eldest son Callum.

“He saved me. If I didn’t have him I don’t know what would have happened - he relied on me and he was there every day.

“He came along and I was able to carry on.

“Mum had a heart of gold. She did have a drink problem but behind that she was a normal person, with normal problems.

“These things happen - she had a marriage breaking down and used drink as her crutch.”

The family strongly believe Sandra was murdered.

On the day she went missing, Sandra visited a soup kitchen in Clacton, where she met a couple of friends.

Later that evening, the trio and a new male acquaintance went for a drink at a nearby flat, in Hayes Road.

It is thought she left alone to return home, but it is not known whether she ever got there.

The subsequent investigation was extensive.

In the months following Ms Gant’s disappearance, officers carried out 139 searches of premises and vehicles, took 337 statements and carried out 900 separate actions in connection with the case.

All to no avail.

Life continues for Lauren and the rest of her family, but the void Sandra once filled remains painfully empty.

Sandra had three grandchildren at the time of her disappearance, and six more have since been born.

Lauren said: “If she were still here she would have nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

“We do talk about her all the time to the children, they know who she is, if they see a picture of her they know it’s nanny.

“People say with time it gets easier. Well, it doesn’t.

“It gets harder to think that she might never be found.

“We want desperately to know what happened to her.

“After a while everything stopped. It’s hard, we never stop thinking about it.

“Although we’re thinking about it and talking about it, we’ve had to try and learn to live with it.”

Lauren, who lives in Colchester, has given up hope she will ever see her mother’s smile again.

Instead, she reaches desperately for the closure which has eluded her family for so long.

In a direct appeal to her mother’s suspected killers, she pleads for an end to her family’s heartache.

She said: “We know as the years move on that people’s friendship groups change, people’s lives change and move on.

“There could be people who are responsible for her death who might feel they can finally speak out.

“We are appealing to these people - even if they just know someone or something connected to her.

“Please, give us the information we need to finally get closure and so our mum can rest in peace.

“If someone did do something to her we want them brought to justice, we don’t want them to continue living their lives as if nothing happened.”

Essex Police said they are still investigating the case, taking “all opportunities” to provide closure to the family.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the force’s cold case team on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.