Local News

Father confident arrest will be made in daughter's stabbing

Posted June 14, 2011 6:21 p.m. EDT
Updated June 14, 2011 10:51 p.m. EDT

— The father of a pregnant newspaper carrier found dead outside a Raleigh convenience store four years ago said he is confident her killer will be found. 

Eight months' pregnant, Jenna Nielsen, 22, was delivering USA Today newspapers to the AmeriKing Food Mart on Lake Wheeler Road on June 14, 2007, when someone stabbed her in the neck and left her body behind the store. 

"As a father, you're there to protect your children," Nielsen's father, Kevin Blaine, said Tuesday. "When this happened, the biggest feeling for me is, 'Hey, I let her down.'" 

DNA was collected from the crime scene, and police are looking for a man seen that night near the convenience store – a short, slightly built man in his late teens or early 20s with black hair pulled back into a long ponytail. He was wearing a dark-colored sleeveless shirt and baggy denim shorts. His ethnicity is not known. 

"Everybody should be a little worried. This man killed an eight-and-a-half-month pregnant woman, and if he'll do that, who knows what else he's done in the past four years," Blaine said. 

Blaine admits he was obsessed with getting his own revenge until his wife helped him realize what was important.

"As much as I'd like to pursue this person on my own and do something about it, I have a family to take care of and have responsibilities," Blaine said. 

Anyone with information about the case should call Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357.

Family members are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

Raleigh police said Tuesday the case remains under active investigation. Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said in a statement that the department is “confident that it can be solved and her killer can be brought to justice.”

Blaine is also confident in an arrest, but even then, he said there won't be closure.

"There's always going to be that hole, but it's the feeling and the knowing that this murderer will be off the street," he said. 

Nielsen's slaying prompted lawmakers this year to enact a fetal homicide bill that would find anyone who commits murder, manslaughter or assault against a pregnant woman guilty of the same crimes against the fetus.

The legislation was nicknamed "Ethen's Law," the name Nielsen planned to give her unborn son.

Blaine said the family pushed for the legislation because he felt they had to do something. 

"Somebody can't get away with murder," he said.