ATLANTA — Twenty-five years ago Friday, a 14-year-old girl was raped and murdered on a wooded path in northwest Atlanta.
Nacole Smith's killer has never been caught.
Channel 2's Tom Jones talked to Smith's mother, Acquanellia SMith, who said the moment she found out about her daughter's death is still fresh all these years later.
"They asked me, did I have a daughter by the name Nacole Smith and was I Acquanellia Smith. And I said, 'Yes,'" Smith said.
On that day, Nacole had taken a shortcut through the woods on Childress Drive on June 7, 1995.
Jones met with Smith near the spot where police found Nacole's body. Purple balloons, Nacole's favorite color, marked the site.
"It's been 25, years and it's 25 balloons," Smith said. "It seems like a lifetime with no answers."
Smith told Jones the hardest part is not knowing who killed her child.
"That's hard," Smith said. "Trying to live each day not knowing who did it."
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Jones talked to former Atlanta police Detective Vince Velazquez, who worked on the cold case. Velazquez said he though he was close to solving it when Nacole's attacker raped a 13-year-old girl nine years later. The DNA matched, but detectives couldn't match it to anyone.
"The case has not been forgotten," Velazquez said. "Twenty-five years later, we're still asking for the public's help."
Velazquez thinks the killer is still offending but has gotten smarter.
Smith said she thinks she will die from a broken heart if the case isn't solved soon.
"I really hope we find this person before I leave this Earth," Smith said.
Nacole's grandmother, Lucilee Dorns, said she can't believe the killer has escaped capture for all these years.
"Every night I pray. I say, 'I know he know he did wrong. Come on and give yourself up,'" Dorns said.
Smith is begging for anyone with information to come forward.
"Give me some peace," Smith said.
Cox Media Group