An innocent text from Karen Ristevski's daughter tipped off her friend she was missing.

On April 18 2019, Borce Ristevski was sentenced to nine years in prison for the death of Karen Ristevski.

A simple four-word question, posed in a text from Karen Ristevski’s daughter, was enough to alert her life-long friend Sharryn Celhar Hili that something was terribly wrong.

“Have you seen mum?” the SMS sent late in June read, Celhar Hili told Nine News.

Sensing something was amiss, she phoned the 21-year-old who was “too devastated to talk” and immediately joined what would be a fruitless search for her old friend, last seen alive on June 29 last year.

Karen Ristevski (left) and Sharryn Celhar Hili (second from right) out with two friends. Source: Facebook

On Monday, police confirmed a body found in Mount Macedon bushland belonged to the 47-year-old Avondale Heights mother.

Ristevski's husband Borce has since been labeled by his newly-appointed lawyer as the "number one suspect"  in her disappearance, but the criminal law expert maintains his innocence.

The Ristevskis allegedly fought over money the morning the shop owner vanished, which he described to Celhar Hili as nothing more than a "tiff".

borce ristevski
Borce Ristevski has been named the "number one suspect" in his wife's disappearance. Source: Facebook

"He told me 'we did have a bit of a disagreement' and he just said that she hasn't come home," she told Nine News.

"I said she's probably just cooling off somewhere, she'll be back tonight or tomorrow."

Celhar Hili and Ristevski have been firm friends since meeting at Deer Park high school more than two decades ago.

They lost contact for a period but reconnected when their daughters found themselves in the same dance school.

Karen with her daughter Sarah. Source: GoFundMe

"She hasn't got a bad bone in her body. Everyone just loves her," Celhar Hili said.

She also said she'd never heard her friend say "a bad word against Borce", whom she described as "always nice and polite."

"I didn't see anything out of the ordinary," she said.

On Tuesday, Celhar Hili launched a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe to "help Sarah Ristevski through this difficult time and help her rebuild her future and education."