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Pregnant newspaper carrier's stabbing death still unsolved

Posted June 14, 2012
Updated June 16, 2012

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— Thursday marked five years since a pregnant Fuquay-Varina woman was found dead outside a Raleigh convenience store in what police have called a random homicide.

Jenna Nielsen had been delivering newspapers on the morning of June 14, 2007, at the AmeriKing Food Mart on Lake Wheeler Road when someone stabbed her in the neck and left her body behind the store.

The 22-year-old was weeks away from giving birth to her third son, to be named Ethen.

Although investigators found DNA at the crime scene, Nielsen's death has never been solved.

Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Thursday that the case remains under investigation. He urged anyone who might know something about the crime – no matter how small or insignificant the detail might seem – to call Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357.

Early in the investigation, detectives put out a description of a person wanted for questioning who was seen near the convenience store on the night of the crime.

Police have described him as a short, slightly built man in his late teens or early 20s with black hair pulled back into a long ponytail. He was wearing a dark-colored sleeveless shirt and baggy denim shorts. His ethnicity is not known.

Nielsen's family is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

In the years since her slaying, family members have set up a website, Justice4Jenna, in an effort to keep the case in the public eye.

"It's hard to believe that it has been 5 years since someone selfishly stole you from our family," a message posted on the site Thursday said. "There isn't a day that goes by that you and Ethen are not in our thoughts."

Nielsen's death also prompted lawmakers last year to enact "Ethen's Law," which would find anyone who commits murder, manslaughter or assault against a pregnant woman guilty of the same crimes against the fetus.


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  • foghat001 Jun 18, 2012

    SingleLens, what "intense ego" are you talking about? You are engaging in pure speculation.

  • dollibug Jun 18, 2012

    There seems to be quite a few *unsolved murders* in the Raleigh area....wonder why someone was not caught in these as well....
    perhaps all of these women were killed by the same person....have to wonder....but no one will probably ever know....for sure...

  • Supie Jun 15, 2012

    the killer told someone. The killer's kind of intense ego has to have someone know. Someday it will come to light. If you were the one he told, be aware your life is in danger as long as the killer is loose.

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Jun 14, 2012

    Could we please see that Sketch of the man seen lingering...???

  • tsquaring Jun 14, 2012

    Do't forget the Beth Ellen Vinson murder. Still unsolved. 1994?

  • OpenM1nd Jun 14, 2012

    Ethen's Law is also a step in the right direction to protecting the rights of the unborn. The implication, however, is that the unborn child only has rights if the mother wants the child, which is a double standard. Likewise, as said by someone else, it's sad that it took a tragedy like this one to get passed.

  • PeaceRH Jun 14, 2012

    I remember when this happened. I hope they find the person responsible!

  • Save It Jun 14, 2012

    I still believe this investigation was botched in the beginning when they circulated the drawing of the male suspect that looked like a little girl.

  • Scare Crow Jun 14, 2012

    Ethen's Law, good move lawmakers. Sad it took a death to create.

  • lmurphy43 Jun 14, 2012

    This story is so sad to me. Two lives taken. Really hope something comes up and they are able to make an arrest.