Ambiguous loss. That's the term for the unique kind of grief that can come from a loved one going missing. That torturous, sometimes paralysing state of 'not knowing'.
Loren O'Keeffe and her family endured that loss when her brother, Daniel, vanished on July 15, 2011. The 24-year-old was spending a few days with his parents at their home in Geelong when he walked out and never returned.
The family knew Daniel had been struggling with depression. But to take time out without telling anyone, to not show up for the young students at his martial arts studio, was wholly out of character.
From the moment Loren learned her little brother was missing, it consumed her life. But rather than be paralysed, Loren channelled her adrenaline into the search for 'Dan'. She knocked on doors, plastered posters around their neighbourhood, called hospitals and homeless shelters, started a Facebook page, wrote for and appeared on national media, even travelled interstate chasing reports of possible sightings of her brother.
Loren ultimately left her job as an online communications advisor and started the Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) in 2013 to provide much-needed practical resources for families like hers. What began as a messy word document she pulled together after other families of missing persons reached out for advice, soon became a registered charity.
She was just 28, with no income. But an invaluable sense of purpose.
Watch: "It completely consumed me." Loren O'Keeffe on becoming the face of the search for her little brother.
Then in March 2016, after 1712 days, the ambiguity was shattered for the O'Keeffes.
Daniel's remains were found in a tight cavity beneath the family home. He'd taken his own life. After years searching for him in far corners of the country, his loved ones learned he'd never truly left.