::Family Offers Reward In Nielsen Murder
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle News Editor
Friday June 29, 2007
RALEIGH - At a press conference today at 2pm across from the Raleigh Police station, the family of recent murder victim Jennifer Nielsen offered a $10,000 reward for information in the case.
Members of her family also said they would push for legislation in North Carolina to add penalties for murdering an unborn child in a homicide case.
Nielsen was eight-months into her pregnancy when she was found murdered on June 14th at a Lake Wheeler gas station in Raleigh along her early morning USA Today newspaper route. [see main story] She also leaves behind an infant son and a three year old boy who are being cared for by her husband, Tim Nielsen.
The case remains unsolved, although a composite sketch of a man seen in the area has been released (see at right).
Attending the 20 minute press conference this afternoon were about 15 members of Nielsen's family including her husband, brother, father, and two young sons.
Victim's Father Speaks
Nielsen's father, Kevin Blaine, spoke first and addressed members of the media. Blaine said he thanked the media for devoting so much attention to the case in the hopes of tracking down her killer.
"Jenna and Ethan's killer is on the loose," he said, referring to Nielsen's unborn son who was going to be named Ethan Austin Nielsen.
Blaine spoke of the family's loss and how it would affect her young sons who were left without a mother.
"Skyler now knows that Mommy and Ethan are in heaven," he said, who said that her young children will never get to know their mother.
"Never is a long time," he said.
Blaine announced that in conjunction with his employer, security door manufacturer Boon Edam Tomsed of Lillington, NC, the family is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest, trial, and conviction of her murderer or murderers.
In addition to her father working at the company, Nielsen's husband also works there which is one reason her family moved to North Carolina from Utah.
"That's what brought us out here," said Blaine, who added that the company has "treated me as family" and offered to put up the money for the $10,000 reward.
"They have been there every step of the way," he added about his employer.
"We believe the reward will help bring the needed tip [in the case]," said Blaine. "We consider this -- and the world considers this -- as the murder of two human beings."
Blaine said his family will be canvassing the area with flyers with the reward information in the hopes that it will help spur someone to call.
In a later interview, Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue added that the department just needs some information to go on.
"We're one phone call away from the break that we need," said Sughrue. "And we have to work hard to get that."
Changing Law In Homicide Cases
Although some other states have added additional penalties for murdering an unborn child in a homicide case involving a pregnant mother, currently, North Carolina is not one of them.
The Nielsen family said they would push to change the law in North Carolina to make it an additional murder charge in such an instance.
"There's no reason an unborn child should not be recognized in the case of a homicide," said Nielsen's father Kevin Blaine, who asked for help from anyone who could help get such legislation enacted.
In addition to her father speaking on the issue, Jennifer Nielsen's husband, Tim Nielsen, also said that getting a new law enacted to add those charges in a homicide case was a priority.
"That needs to be changed as soon as possible," said Tim Nielsen at the press conference.
Tough For Nielsen Family To Cope
Tim Nielsen said that it had been very tough for his young family to cope with the murder of his wife and the mother of his two children.
As he held his son, he said that it was painful telling his older child Skyler, who turns four this August, about the crime.
"It's been hard," he said. "He does know that Mommy's not coming home."
Nielsen's father, Kevin Blaine said that the family was finding comfort in the website that they had created, www.justice4jenna.org.
"[We] stay motivated through the website," said Blaine. "We're focusing all of our energy on catching...who did this."
Blaine said that their family had set up a "command center" of computers in their kitchen at home in the hopes of gathering information and news from anyone on the case.
In addition, the family has taken strength from comments from visitors on the website, he said.
"We'd like to thank everyone around the world...who have left kind words," added Blaine, who said that many people or their family members who commented had been affected by violent crime as well.
"Just reading their comforting quotes, they truly, honestly care," commented Blaine. "It's touching...you can't help but cry."
Trying To Find Answers
Still, the Blaine said the murder of his daughter had truly traumatized his family.
"My daughter...she was so bubbly, so happy," he said. "This newspaper route she had, she enjoyed it...it's what she wanted to do [and] she always brought happiness to everyone."
Blaine said that "through God his family would succeed." And they hope to also get the killer off the streets so that they would never hurt anyone again.
"No family anywhere in the world should have to through a situation like this," he said.
Jason Kubota, who is Jennifer Nielsen's brother, spoke briefly and added that he had spent time with her young son Skyler and talked with him about what happened.
"He said 'Mommy's in heaven...Mommy's looking down on me," said Kubota about talking with Skyler.
Kubota said he was at a loss for words though when Skyler added "But I need her back."
"I just said, 'we'll see her again someday,'" said Kubota. "That's all I could say." ::
Editor's Note: A special police hotline has been set up for tips at 919-227-6220 and it should be stressed that callers do not have to reveal their identities.