Little Cheryl was there one moment, then gone the next.
The case of the missing toddler, who vanished without a trace from outside a shower block at Fairy Meadow Beach on January 12, 1970, has long been one of the state's most baffling and heart-wrenching cold cases.
For 47 years, the three remaining Grimmer siblings - brothers Ricki, Stephen and Paul - have held out hope their sister's kidnapper and suspected murderer would eventually be caught and brought to justice.
Then, in 2017, there came a breakthrough in the case: a Victorian man who had been at the beach that day was arrested and charged with Cheryl's murder.
His identity was suppressed because he was underage at the time of Cheryl's disappearance, but information made public in his subsequent court appearances revealed he had confessed to killing the toddler during a 90-minute interview with police in April 1971.
(Police at the time were unable to confirm the truthfulness of the teen's confession and did not proceed with charges.)
The man has denied the murder charge since his arrest in 2017, with his lawyers flagging the admissibility of his 1971 interview would be a key issue in the trial - so key in fact, that Justice Robert Allan Hulme set aside an entire week of court time to hear submissions from both parties.
On Friday, Justice Hulme made his ruling: the interview was inadmissible, meaning it cannot be used as evidence against the man in his trial.
The Director of Public Prosecutions had already conceded their case against the man relied on the playing of the interview and the charge had no hope of being proven beyond reasonable doubt without it.
They had little choice but to withdraw the charge - and their case - against the man.
He walked out of Darlinghurst courthouse on Friday afternoon, a free man.
In his judgement outlining his decision, Justice Hulme referred to reports from two psychiatrists who agreed the then-teenager had a low average intelligence, was immature and more vulnerable than the average 17-year-old as a result of his disturbed upbringing.
"Both agreed that this meant the accused would have been vulnerable to influence, and may have had a propensity to respond to the cues or expectations of others," Justice Hulme wrote.
He also raised concern over the fact the then-teen had been interviewed without a parent, adult or legal practitioner present.
Outside court, Ricki Grimmer told Ten News his family wanted answers.
"Someone's gotta be accountable for this," he said, accusing his sister's alleged killer of hiding behind a technicality.