by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:
CHARLOTTE - It's been 17 years since Kristen Modafferi disappeared while she was in San Francisco for the summer. Modafferi had just turned 18.
Modafferi was from Charlotte, and attended North Carolina State University.
Joan Pertruski was Modafferi’s neighbor.
“She was beautiful,” Pertruski said. “She was brilliant."
Pertruski said there are still leads coming in to this day. Pertruski never met the teen but says she has become family.
“Because of so many years spent looking for her,” Pertruski said “she guides me. I know she does. And her legacy is the foundation."
Pertruski started the Kristen Foundation 16 years ago. It has helped hundreds of families with missing loved ones by raising money for searches through the sale of cookbooks, bracelets and other fundraisers. Pertruski says she'll work with any family that needs help.