It was after weeks of rain and on one murky day in February that a walker stopped suddenly by the River Kent and stared down the banks.
The sight would have been deeply disturbing: a body that had been there for six months, so badly decomposed it was barely recognisable.
So began the investigation into a murder that would throw the small village of Sedgwick into the national consciousness. The council leader remembers those dark days.
Cllr Graham Wadsworth told ITV Border: "The police came and interviewed everyone in the parish."
"We had to account for our movements some six to eight months earlier."
"Everybody was really shocked. We live in a village where crime is really rare. We have a regular police update at our parish council meetings and usually it's nothing to report."
As the grim process of identifying the body wore on, it soon became clear that the person was not from Cumbria. But from the start, the question of how Shafilea Ahmed arrived in Sedgwick was critical.
In 2004, Detective Chief Inspector Geraint Jones of Cheshire Police told a press conference: "The person that she may have travelled with to Cumbria. We need to identify how she's got there. A lot of our enquiries are geared into that now and in identifying people who have been at Sedgwick at or around the time she went missing."
After all the mystery and grief, it is easy to forget that it is normally the swans and beauty that define the River Kent, where Shafilea's body was found. The police tape is long gone.
But the the memory of its unwanted part in one of Britain's ugliest murders will take far longer to wash away.