NEW YORK (CNN) -- Brianna Maitland was just 17, with strong ambition and a fierce independent streak, said her mother, Kellie Maitland.
Brianna Maitland was just 17 and had started a new job when she vanished on the way home from work.
When Brianna insisted on taking a job, moving out of the family nest and living on her own with a roommate before starting college, it wasn't what her parents originally had in mind for her.
She'd just begun a job as a waitress at the Black Lantern Restaurant in Montgomery, Vermont, when she vanished into the night.
Maitland left work at 11:20 p.m. on March 19, 2004, intending to go straight home to her apartment, co-workers said. She got into her car and drove off, but has not been seen or heard from since.
Three days later, her roommate called Maitland's parents, asking if they'd seen her. Alarmed, the Maitlands called the police and discovered that the car she'd been driving had been found on Saturday, the day after she was last seen. Watch how a young girl just disappeared »
The 1985 green Oldsmobile had been abandoned a mile from the restaurant where Maitland worked. The back end of the car was smashed into an abandoned shack.
Maitland left behind her contact lenses, prescription medication and two paychecks totaling $150 -- money that a 17-year-old would not have walked away from, said her mother. Forensic testing on the vehicle showed no signs of foul play, police said.
Once authorities linked the car to the missing teen, they brought in search teams as well as scent-tracking dogs and helicopters. More than 500 police officers and volunteers combed the woods near where Maitland's car was found, but they found no trace of her.
The case bears some similarity to the disappearance of another young woman in Vermont a month earlier. Maura Murray was driving in the snow when her car skidded off the road and was found abandoned. She, too, disappeared. Police have found no solid link but they are not ruling out a connection.
In 2006, two years after Maitland's disappearance, Vermont police had what they hoped would be a break in the case. A tipster called in a sighting of Maitland at Ceasar's Place casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Security cameras captured a young woman resembling Maitland, but the video was grainy and Bruce and Kellie Maitland couldn't say for certain that their daughter was on the video.
Police were not able to find the girl in the video, but Kellie Maitland said, "It gives us great hope that maybe she is out there somewhere alive."
Maitland is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall, 110 pounds, with long, brown straight hair with hazel eyes. She wore a small nose ring in her left nostril and has a thin scar down her forehead to her left eyebrow.
Police and family are offering a $20,000 reward for any information leading to finding Maitland or leading to the arrest of the persons responsible for her disappearance. Please call the Vermont State Police with any tips at 802-524-5993.