RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Jenna Nielsen’s murder made headlines across the country and a decade later, her case is still cold.
The 22-year-old pregnant newspaper carrier from Fuquay-Varina was fatally stabbed in the neck outside of the AmeriKing convenience store on Lake Wheeler Road near Interstate 40 in Raleigh.
Her family is still searching for answers after the tragic incident on June 14, 2007.
One step at a time, one foot in front of the other, Kevin Blaine walks to remember his daughter Jenna Nielsen.
“My daughter was working that night,” said Blaine. “She used to deliver newspapers for the USA Today and at one of her stops someone grabbed her from behind and murdered her. My daughter was eight and a half months pregnant, so, I lost not only my daughter, but I lost my grandson as well.”
It’s been a decade since Jenna Nielsen’s murder and her father says knowing his daughter’s killer is still out on the streets often keeps him up at night.
“Hopefully, one day someone will make a phone call and we’ll be able to put him behind bars,” Blaine said.
The North Carolina Victim’s Advocacy Network on Saturday held its annual “Know Hope Community Walk” in honor of all the victims of violence.
“When this happened to us, you don’t know where to turn,” Blaine said. “You don’t even know where to begin and then they come in and support you throughout the whole thing. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know how we would’ve survived through the whole thing cause you could fall apart so quickly.”
The faces of lost loved ones lined the trail, bringing back both painful and joyful memories.
“She was such a bubbly person,” Blaine said of his late daughter. “She was happy all the time. She was one of those people who could just walk in the room and lighten the whole thing up.”
Blaine says it’s like a wound that never fully heals and it can open up at any moment.PREVIOUS:2007 death of pregnant woman still unsolved
“I don’t want to use the word ‘closure’ because, to be honest, there is no closure,” Blaine said. “That hole is always gonna be there. You’re always gonna be missing them.”
Blaine says his daughter lives on in his two grandchildren and they give him the strength to go on every day.
“I can see her in each one of them,” Blaine said. “Our oldest grandson laughs exactly like she did so you’re always reminded.”
Nielsen’s death prompted a change in North Carolina law in 2011.
“Ethan’s Law” protects unborn children who in the womb during their mother’s assault or murder. The statute adds an additional criminal charge.
Nielsen 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,” her father Blaine said in a previous interview with CBS North Carolina.
The convenience store did not have working surveillance cameras at the time of Nielsen’s death.
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.
Police have not said what the evidence is but investigators hope 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,” Raleigh police homicide detective Zeke Morse said.
The family is offering a $15,000 reward for anyone who has information that would help solve Jenna’s murder.