On Saturday, the Raleigh Police Department held a news conference, on the anniversary of the day police found her body, to remind the community that the person who raped and killed her is still at large.
"Stephanie Bennett was a twenty-three-year-old individual who had a long life ahead of her and this life was cut short by an individual," Lt. John Lynch of the Raleigh Police Department said. "And we need to do everything we can to identify that individual."
An unknown male entered Bennett's apartment through a window during the night of Monday, May 20, 2002, and raped and killed her, police said. The suspect then fled, possibly taking with him a JVC MXC220 compact stereo, which had dual cassette decks and a three-disc CD changer.
"It's very frustrating knowing that he's still out there knowing he could attack your mother, your daughter, your best friend -- anybody, anytime," said Molly Hodges, the mother of Stephanie Bennett.
Police are focusing on one person in particular who was seen in the area near Bennett's apartment in the days and weeks before the crime, Lynch said.
Police described this individual as a white male who is in his late 20s or early 30s and about 5-feet-10 to 6-feet tall. This male has light brown or blond hair. He was often seen wearing sunglasses and a dark hooded sweatshirt, even on warm days, around Bennett's apartment complex near the time of Bennett's death. A medium- to-large-sized dog often accompanied him, police said.
"You kind of just keep waiting for her to call, and you realize that's not gonna happen," said Carmen Bennett, Stephanie Bennett's father.
But, her parents said, perhaps someone will call the Raleigh Police Department who can help catch the killer.
Anyone with information in this case is asked to call a special tip line that will be staffed from 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21 through 7 p.m. Monday, May 23. After 7 p.m. Monday, the tip line will be answered by voice mail, and callers are asked to leave messages. A $100,000 reward is being offered in this case.
The special tip line number is (919) 890-3951.
"There's somebody out there that knows something," Lynch said. "There's somebody that has some information. They probably don't realize it or are reluctant to share it."
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