First off, this post is written with the assumption we’re having a worst case scenario. I still hope that the files are merely misplaced as that makes the most sense, but…
Well bad news, I have personally great trust in Recuva and would say, barring user error, if it did not find anything to recover that you recognize as your lost files then they are indeed lost.
Worse news however, if the files indeed has been deleted without your knowledge we need to consider how and why and unless you think someone with physical access to your laptop might have done something by accident we’re pretty much left with 2 options.
A) Hardware failure, your drive is starting to fail at such a fundamental level we’re seeing disc surface damage and you’ll never get any of those files back. Further more you could probably expect the entire drive to fail any moment here.
B) Malice. Hackers, malware, ransomware or any other sort of terrible thing has occurred and your system is compromised. The files have not only been deleted but maybe also stolen and quite honestly I do not know how you would deal with that, but I’d start by keeping the laptop offline.
Secondly maybe https://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ UBCD could be useful to you. If possible get a friend to install that on a thumbdrive for you, or CD if you want to go old school. It is a bootable wealth of diagnostic tools but primarily it has a few anti-virus programs you can run without having to load up your compromised system. It also has a linux distro bootable right off the CD/thumbdrive that’ll let you backup any data you want off your system before a full system wipe and reinstall.