Local News

Ten Years Later, Search Continues For Raleigh Woman's Killer

Posted August 16, 2004

— She was beautiful, talented, and she was murdered.

Exactly 10 years ago, Beth Ellen Vinson disappeared. A week later, she was found dead.

Ever since, Raleigh police and Vinson's family have been trying to figure out who took her life. They said they will not stop looking for her killer as long as he is on the loose.

As a little girl growing up in Wayne County, Vinson dreamed of dancing on Broadway. The dream was dashed in August 1994, when Vinson -- a Homecoming queen -- was murdered in Raleigh.

"A lot of people in North Carolina know her as a dancer and a performer, and they forget that for 17 years, she was my little girl," said her mother, Penny Vinson.

Said Beth Ellen's father, Bill: "Ten years ago, I would never in a million years have thought my daughter could have been murdered, and now I know it's true. It's happened."

Beth Ellen's parents said they grieve her loss every day but have learned to manage.

"In a decade, we've come a long way," Penny said. "That's not to say we don't have our moments. We do."

Police found Beth Ellen's body stabbed multiple times in a Raleigh drainage ditch.

Monday, the anniversary of her disappearance, someone left fresh flowers at the site -- a reminder that, even in a decade-old case, there can be fresh leads.

"I don't think this is a case that I will ever forget about or ever stop trying to find a way," said Raleigh police Lt. Chris Morgan.

Police think Beth Ellen was killed by someone she knew. Her killing is the second-oldest of 17 unsolved murders on the Raleigh police department's books.

"I think my expectations have lowered a little since 10 years have gone by," Bill Vinson said. "But I still have that hope that someday something will break."

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