What happened to Rhonda Sue?

Rhonda Sue went missing in May 1990 / Raymond Rubb (WGXA)

There's new activity in a 27-year-old middle Georgia murder case.

Rhonda Sue Coleman never made it home from a social event for her high school.

Now her family is behind a new push for answers.

The GBI is sharing evidence photos that you can see for the first time in an effort to finally figure out what happened to Rhonda Sue.

"It was about 25 years before we started making changes in her room," said her dad Milt Coleman.

Her mom Gayle added, "We kept everything that she had in her room as it was for about 25 years."

Their lives were on hold for a quarter century as Milt and Gayle Coleman waited for a break in the murder case of their daughter Rhonda Sue.

She was an only child. And the center of her parents' world.

"Spoiled!" they said together. Then Milt added, "She loved her parents and we loved her. We've always been a hugging family. She was very outgoing. Like teenagers, most didn't want their parents around, she wanted hers around."

The 18-year-old high school senior didn't usually go out on a school night. May 17, 1990 was special. She was working on a senior flag with classmates as graduation approached at Jeff Davis High School in Hazelhurst.

Her dad went out looking for her at 10:30 p.m.

That night is still vivid in her mom's mind. "I don't know. I recon it was something that a mother feels. But I could feel it in my soul. Somebody had gotten her. Something seriously wrong," she said.

Colman's car was found just up the road. The GBI gave us exclusive access to an evidence photo of it for this report so you can look at it carefully. Lights on. Door open.

Her parents said she would only stop for someone she knew.

"Definitely, most definitely," Milt said.

"She would not pull over for someone if she didn't think she knew them, or possibly a blue light," Gayle added.

The disappearance drew a frantic search and national attention.

But a few days later in a recently logged remote tract of land, a man found Rhonda Sue's body.

GBI Special Agent Mark Pro said, "He was surveying the area and located the body and contacted law enforcement".

Twenty-seven years ago.

"You don't forget. It may ease a little but you don't forget," Milt said.

And Gayle is haunted by what might have been. "You're always wondering how many grand kids we would have had, or where would she be living at, or would her and a certain cousin be living together some place. It's a daily thing that never goes away," she said.

Now, there's a new push on the case to find Rhonda Sue's killer. The family has hired attorney Ken Smith.

"We've interviewed several witnesses with very favorable results. We tried to interview some witnesses who would not be cooperative which was very telling to us, so this case is not nearly as cold as people think it is," Smith said.

The GBI continues working it too. Agents conducted interviews just last month.

"We have gone over many many scenarios of how this could have transpired and we're still looking and trying to figure out the best way to approach this case and develop something that will help us reach an end," Agent Pro said.

Among the evidence photos released to WGXA-TV to try to stir people's memory is one of the convenience store where Rhonda Sue parked her car while she joined her friends that night.

Any information on what happened from the time she left that location to return home until her car was found and even in the hours after, could play a big part in this case.

Agent Pro said for anyone around during that time, any little piece of information could help crack the case. He added, "And remember the times they were there, things that they remember and possibly they didn't think was important at the time and now that they've had time to reflect on it, and if they have information that they feel could help us in the case we want them to come forward with it."

But for now a mother, a father and a community wait for answers, with the killer possibly living and working among them.

Gayle offers a mother's plea for justice. "Please if you're that one person out there who may have that one piece of information, it's not going to hurt Rhonda. Nothing's going to hurt Rhonda anymore. Let's come forward let's get this behind us. Get this behind all of us, this family, her friends and this community," she said.

There is still a $35,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Rhonda Sue Coleman's killer.

You can call the GBI at (912) 389-4103 ifyou have any informtion on this case.

And the family has set up a hotline through their attorney to collect information. You can call it at (912) 253-0437.

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