Local News

Slain Mom's Family Unveils Billboard Seeking Killer

Posted September 25, 2007
Updated September 26, 2007

— More than three months after her death, a 14-foot-by-48-foot billboard asking the question "Who Killed Jennifer Nielsen?" was unveiled Tuesday in an effort to draw new attention to a Fuquay-Varina mother's unsolved slaying.

Eight months pregnant at her death, Nielsen, 22, known as Jenna, was delivering USA Today newspapers in the early morning hours of June 14 when she was attacked and stabbed to death. Her body was found behind the AmeriKing Food Mart on Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh.

The billboard, donated by Fairway Outdoor Advertising, sits at 3525 S. Wilmington St., faces north and features a large police composite of a person of interest, a photo of Nielsen and a toll-free tip line to the national TV show "America's Most Wanted," which also partnered with Nielsen's family.

Nielsen's husband, Tim Nielsen, called the billboard "outstanding and overwhelming" and said he believes the key to finding his wife's killer is keeping the case alive.

"Now that this billboard is up, it's 24/7, and we think this is the key, right here, to getting this person off the streets," he said.

Approximately 46,460 vehicles travel by the billboard, located about three miles from the crime scene, every day, a Fairway representative said. It will likely stay there for the next few weeks before the company moves it to another location.

Fairway said it would determine future spaces based on availability but that they planned to keep it up near the crime scene as much as possible until police make an arrest.

The case has drawn national attention, with Tim Nielsen appearing on network news shows such as Fox News' "On the Record." "America's Most Wanted" has featured the case at least twice, and USA Today has published several full-page advertisements seeking tips.

Maj. Ken Mathias, of the Raleigh Police Department, said Tuesday that the police department has received about 1,000 calls, in addition to e-mails and letters, and said the family has been "an important component" in their investigation.

"The family, in this case, has been instrumental in helping us, partnering with us, to keep this in the media," Mathias said.

Still, police have yet to name a suspect.

The person of interest, according to Raleigh police, is a man believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, standing about 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds. He had black hair pulled into a ponytail and wore a dark-colored sleeveless shirt and baggy denim shorts. Police believe he might be Hispanic.

Anyone with information about the case should call the Raleigh Police Department's tip line at 919-227-6220 or "America's Most Wanted" tip line at 1-800-CRIME-TV. They can also report a tip via the NC Wanted tip line at 1-866-43-WANTED or submit it over the Web.

Nielsen's family has set up a Web site, justice4jenna.org, in an effort to keep the case alive and is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.

Nielsen's father, Kevin Blaine, said Tuesday that the power of the Internet has helped keep the case in the public eye. The Web site has had more than 39,000 hits from visitors as far away as Australia and Asia.

"We want to catch the person that did this. And the only way we know how is to help generate tips for the police – to make it easier for them," Blaine said. "I don't want this to go on for years and years. I want this done, right now."


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  • RaleighMan Sep 26, 2007

    I pray that the person(s) responsible for this will be brough to justice. Such a tragic and senseless crime that has happened to this family. My heart goes out to them.

  • barballen Sep 26, 2007

    I only hope the fear of God and going to Hell will eat the felon up if he/she has a concience.

  • Sessy - Italiana Sep 26, 2007

    She was out at 4am doing her job (paper route) so she could save money to be able to stay home with her newborn son that never got the chance to take a breath of air.

  • HEYGwenCOG Sep 26, 2007

    >>>>>But i don't get why a pregnant woman was out by herself at 4:00 in the morning in the first placek.

  • BlueHeaven27599 Sep 26, 2007

    The sketch and the description makes it seem more like a woman than a man to me. And I hate to say it, but I don't think the sketch is a good one. It actually looks like the victim herself. This may never be solved if it was just a random act of violence by a drug addict or homeless person. This is such a tragedy with her being a mother and pregnant. But i don't get why a pregnant woman was out by herself at 4:00 in the morning in the first place.

  • lastchance Sep 26, 2007

    I would like to talk to this family as we have the same thing in common, my son was murdered last year and still we havent found out who did it.. We have written to americas most wanted and all the tv shows and no response, as much as Im happy for this family getting coverage im also wondering why americas most wanted didnt air ours. please if anyone know how to get in touch with this family have them contact me and of course Im sorry for the lose... my sons site is www.leroyjernigan.com and email me at tristendeane1@yahoo.com... thanks...

  • WilloWSnapper Sep 25, 2007

    its a sick fact that more pregnant women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends or babys father. I don't believe this one had anything to do with it NOW Michelle YOUNG, that's a different story

  • BottomLine Sep 25, 2007

    I travel along Lake Wheeler and that area certainly has quite a number of seedy looking characters always walking the streets. Not sure what is all down there, but not the best area of town. Lets hope some leads generate to nail this one quickly and swift justice for this evil.

  • Mr. Keeping It Real Sep 25, 2007

    I hope the billboard generates some leads for this family so they can put closure to this horrible situation.

    The family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  • oceanchild71 Sep 25, 2007

    junkabuttafli07: Experienced LEOs can tell stories about how sometimes doing things like billboards and encouraging the local news to run a story on the progress of the case can jog people's memories or their consciences and they will come forward with what they know.

    That is why Cold Cases will be revisited after every so often because often the passage of time makes people regret things they have done or not done and they want to make things right.