(NBC NEWS) – Tonight on “Dateline,” after 15-year-old Danielle Locklear vanishes, investigators discover a creek where local teenagers hang out that may hold the answer to her disappearance.

Here’s a preview of Dennis Murphy’s report:

So this story is about a teenaged sweetie named Danielle.  Danielle Locklear. It seems everyone in her orbit, young and old, got a boost from her sunny take on life, including her mom, Rowna. 

Rowna Fowler: She was just a funny, witty girl. She stood out. She shined. And you would — you would notice her.

Danielle’s aunt, Chena Papa, was somewhere between an older sister and a surrogate mom for Danielle.

Danielle was living with aunt Chena’s family in Hope Mills, North Carolina while her mother worked her way through a painful divorce in another state.

By spring 2014, Danielle had been living with Chena and her grandparents for close to 10 months. They saw little Dannie maturing into a young woman.

But she was still too young to spend the night alone.

So on March 11, when Chena and her mom had to go over to Atlanta for a doctor’s appointment, Danielle’s grandfather was given the responsibility of keeping an eye on the teen.

It was a Tuesday. A school night. After supper, just before bed, Danielle asked her grandfather if she could drop off a school notebook at a classmate’s house a few doors away.

He said yes. And off Danielle went into the night. In Atlanta, Chena sensed something was off.

Dennis Murphy: You had that feeling?

Chena Papa: Could not even sleep. I had this overwhelming feeling of something bad happening.

Watch Friday’s “Dateline,” “The Creek” tonight on NBC4 at 9 p.m.

About ‘Dateline’

“Dateline NBC” is the longest-running series in NBC primetime history and is in its 31st season. Dateline is anchored by Lester Holt and features correspondents Andrea Canning, Josh Mankiewicz, Natalie Morales, Keith Morrison and Dennis Murphy.

Dateline is the #1 Friday newsmagazine and reaches more than 17 million people every week through its broadcast, and millions more through its social media platforms and podcasts.

The stories range from compelling mysteries to powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations. When major news breaks, they go to the scene, putting the pieces together to bring the viewer the full picture. And in every story they tell, they help the real people who lived the events share their journeys with the viewer.