RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Jenna Nielsen’s murder garnered nationwide attention.
She was eight and a half months pregnant when someone killed her and her unborn child at a Raleigh gas station while she was on her newspaper route June 14, 2007.
Her murderer is still on the loose.
Nielsen’s father, Kevin Blaine, is still asking the same questions nearly eight years after her murder.
“Why would someone kill a mother that was eight and a half months pregnant? Just, what goes through somebody’s head?” he said from his Apex home.
Nielsen was 22 years old at the time of her death and just weeks from delivering her third child Ethan.
In the early morning hours of June 14, 2007, she was stabbed in the neck outside of the AmeriKing convenience store on Lake Wheeler Road near the Interstate 40 interchange.
She was working overnights delivering newspapers so she could be with her children during the day.
Another newspaper delivery driver noticed her abandoned car and called 911.
“It happened in the wee hours of the night in a space where there really was no one to see anything,” Blaine said.
The convenience store did not have working surveillance cameras at the time of Nielsen’s death.
Raleigh police homicide detective Zeke Morse has been working on the case since the morning it happened.
“I honestly believe this case is solvable,” Morse said. “To date, we’ve done over 1,000 interviews in this case, and continue to do so.”
He said despite the lack of witnesses, there is someone out there with the information he needs.
“I believe that everybody has a piece to this puzzle. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and I believe there’s some people out there or someone out there who has that piece to that puzzle that we’re missing right now,” Morse said.
Raleigh police released a composite sketch of a person of interest shortly after the murder.
The person in that sketch left DNA at the crime scene, police said.
Morse would not confirm what the evidence is but he hopes advancements in DNA analysis will help crack the case.
“Forensic technology is continually evolving and progressing and changing. We solve cases that are older than eight years often,” Morse said.
Blaine still hasn’t lost hope that his daughter’s killer will be caught.
“That’s the key right there, to get him off the streets so this can’t happen to another family. He’s ruined ours. He’s taken away something that can’t be replaced. We’ll get by. We’ll continue to grow, but I don’t want this to happen to another family,” Blaine said.
Nielsen’s death prompted a change in North Carolina law.
“Ethan’s Law” protects unborn children who in the womb during their mother’s assault or murder.
The statue adds an additional criminal charge. It was passed it 2011.
There is a $15,000 reward for information in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Raleigh police or leave an anonymous tip with the Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-835-HELP.
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