Local News

Sketch Producing Tips in Pregnant Mother's Slaying

Posted June 18, 2007 5:46 p.m. EDT
Updated June 18, 2007 7:57 p.m. EDT

— A sketch of a person wanted for questioning in the slaying of a pregnant mother last week has produced more than two dozen tips since Friday, police said Monday.

An officer responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle early Thursday morning found the body of Jennifer Kathleen "Jenna" Nielsen, 22, of Fuquay-Varina, behind the AmeriKing Food Mart on Lake Wheeler Road, across from the State Farmers Market.

Nielsen, the mother of two boys who was eight months pregnant with her third son, was on her early morning route to restock USA Today newspaper boxes when she was killed, police said. The cause of death hasn't been released.

Police described the slaying as a random act and said they want to identify a man seen near the convenience store in the pre-dawn hours Thursday.

The man is described as being in the late teens or early 20s, standing about 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds. The man had black hair pulled into a ponytail and wore a dark-colored sleeveless shirt and baggy denim shorts.

Since police released the sketch of the man late Friday, they have received dozens of tips to a special hotline set up to handle leads in the case.

"The detectives upstairs are working the case 24 hours a day. They're following all the leads we're getting, and we are very appreciative of what we're getting from people calling in," said Capt. Chris Bertram of the Raleigh Police Department.

"The focus, like I said, is try to find this person because we believe he may have some information that may assist us in the investigation of the case," Bertram said. "We're not saying this person is a suspect. It is someone who was seen nearby and we would really like to talk to him."

Meanwhile, Nielsen's family waits for answers. Her brother posted a note on his MySpace.com page asking the public to call police if they have any information about the crime or the composite.

Nielsen will be buried later this week in Utah, where she lived before moving to Fuquay-Varina.