MAURY CO., Tenn. (WKRN) — A Middle Tennessee teenager who was supposed to spend Spring Break with a relative never made it to her destination.

18 years later her family is still desperate for answers. Amber Cates was last seen in Maury County April 11, 2004.

Amber Cates missing since 2004. (Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
Amber Cates missing since 2004. (Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Cates left her mother’s home in a gold Mazda with one of her male friends.

“She was on her way to spend Spring Break with her friends and family and never made it,” said Matthew Foster, Assistant Special Agent in Charge with FBI.

When questioned about Cates disappearance, the friend said he’d left her with another guy friend.

Authorities later located the second male in a federal prison in Alabama. He claims he dropped Cates off at a garage in Columbia after she purchased hair dye, and he doesn’t know what happened to her next.

“Since then, we’ve been searching for Amber, looking for tips and somebody to tell us if they were close to her,” Foster continues, “Or if they came close to someone later on who became aware of what happened to her. We want to hear from those folks and our partners with Maury County Sheriff’s Office want to hear from them too.”

Cates was originally considered to be a runaway, but her social security number has gone unused since 2004.

There have been no driving infractions reported, and her cell phone was not used since her disappearance.

“If we can’t bring a loved one home safely, we at least want to bring some peace to that family,” said Foster.

The FBI is offering a reward up to $25,000 for information leading to Cates recovery. If you have any information contact 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit tips.fbi.gov.