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Mother Recounts Hearing News of Slain Pregnant Daughter

Posted June 15, 2007

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— As police continue to search for information after finding a pregnant woman slain behind a convenience store, the woman's family members remembered her as a loving mother, wife and daughter.

To her family, Jennifer Nielsen, 22, went by the nickname of "Jenna." Family members said she was a gifted piano player, singer, and dancer, but her true loves were her sons: 3-year-old Skyler and 11-month-old Caiden. She was also going to have a baby in three weeks -- a boy she called Ethan.

"She has always been such an outgoing positive person. I can't imagine wanting to do anything like this," said Nielsen's mother, Lorann Blaine.

"She was just so happy, made everyone else happy if they were upset and stuff. It's just really sad to know that she's gone," said Nielsen's cousin, Kirsten Mellor.

Blaine, who lives in Utah, heard the news from her ex-husband that Nielsen was killed while on her pre-dawn newspaper route in Raleigh.

"I have never cried so hard in my entire life from when he told me that," Blaine said.

A police officer found Nielsen's body behind the AmeriKing Food Mart on Lake Wheeler Road early Thursday after responding to a call about a suspicious car. A cause of death hasn't been released.

Investigators cleared the murder scene at about midnight Thursday after spending all day searching for clues. They said they are exploring all possibilities in the investigation.

"I think if you were going to do something like that, you know, take the money, if that's what you want," said Nielsen's aunt, Sceverenia Mellor. "You don't need to kill a young mother and her baby. There's no need for that."

Nielsen moved from the Salt Lake City area to Fuquay-Varina because of her husband's job. Her mother said she took the early morning job of restocking newspaper bins to make some extra money.

"She loved it. She said the company that she worked for was awesome," Blaine said. "That's all she talked about down there was how much fun her job was."

Nielsen died doing that job. Now, her family is planning two funerals in Utah -- one for her and another for the baby it will never meet.

Blaine said she is planning to come to North Carolina to be with her son-in-law and grandsons. Relatives said Skyler Nielsen keeps asking when his mother will return home.

"I don't know what we're going to do without her," Blaine said.