HARDIN COUNTY — The family of Penny Lee Murphy, 51, continues to search for answers following her mysterious death.
Inside her sister's home in Evadale, Thanksgiving brought loved ones together over the weekend. However, the much anticipated holiday quickly turned into a nightmare for the family three years ago.
"We knew something was wrong because her phone was off and it would go straight to voicemail," says Murphy's niece Amanda Kern. "They hadn't seen her and Penny doesn't turn her phone off."
On the night of November 27, 2015, the Friday after thanksgiving, Murphy decided to play at the game room inside the Chevron gas station on College Street, near I-10 in Beaumont.
However, later that night in the early hours of Saturday morning, Penny went missing.
Beaumont Police along with family spent days trying to find her.
On the morning of December 6, two hunters leaving a deer lease along highway 326 in Hardin County found something heartbreaking.
"I remember getting the phone call, they said it was her body that was found and that she had been thrown in a ditch somewhere between Kountze and Sour Lake," says Kern. "She had been nude and murdered."
The Hardin County Sheriff's Office identified the naked body as 51-year-old Penny Lee Murphy.
Major Dennis Allen with the Hardin County Sheriff's Office says "Finding her at the entrance of the deer hunting club road south of Kountze, it was pretty bad."
An investigation began to determine how Murphy ended up 30 miles away from where she was last seen.
However, the condition of the body made things difficult.
Murphy's body was badly decomposed when hunters found her.
Rains along with animals in the area made it difficult for law enforcement to determine what happened to her.
To this day, there is still no cause of death.
An autopsy determined that the body's condition was consistent with being in the ditch for about a week.
The only physical marks investigators found were bruises to her neck and right shoulder.
Allen says "It's nothing that unusual due to the decomposition state."
Three years later, no arrests have been made in Murphy's death.
Yet, the Hardin County Sheriff's Office along with Beaumont Police haven't stopped looking.
"I'd guess about once a month or every two months, I'm speaking with the crime lab," says Allen. "This case is as active as it was back in 2015."
Penny's family continues to point back to the Chevron where she was last seen.
Murphy lived in Evadale with her sister but regularly made the trip down to Beaumont to play inside the game room.
"The store owners knew Penny and the people that were around the store that night," says Kern. "She went there often, so I do believe someone knew something that they're not telling."
"I feel like there is someone that knows," says Penny's sister Lesa Coleman. "I would appreciate and be thankful if they would just call in with any information they have and let the authorities know."
Allen tells 12News that some of Penny's belongings were found near the gas station around the time she went missing.
"No one is getting away with something like this and justice will prevail," says Allen. "We owe that to Penny."
Kern says "I don't believe someone who could kill like this deserves to be walking around the streets in public."
Uncertainty still lies with Penny's death, but her memory has never faded.
"Even though it's been three years, Penny's not forgotten, we still love her," says Coleman. "We love Penny, we miss her and just like to see some closure."
If anyone has information that could help with this case, you are are encouraged to contact either the Hardin County Sheriff's Office or Beaumont Police.