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Reward Offered In Search For Killer Of Teen Sweethearts Found Gunned Down On Valentine's Day 20 Years Ago
Nicholas Kunselman and Stephanie Hart-Grizzell were students at Columbine High School and were killed less than a year after the tragic mass shooting there.
More than 20 years ago, a teenage couple was found dead in a Subway restaurant on Valentine's Day and their killer has never been found. Now, authorities in Colorado are hoping an increased reward will help bring new information on the case.
Nicholas Kunselman, 15, and Stephanie Hart-Grizzell, 16, were found dead in a Subway shop in Littleton, Colorado in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, 2000, according to a release issued by the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers. An unnamed employee who was driving past the sandwich shop noticed the lights on when the establishment should have been closed; when they went inside, they found the two teens dead behind the counter. An investigation revealed that the pair had been shot by one or more intruders.
Kunselman had been working at the Subway and Hart-Grizzell was waiting for his shift to end the night of the killing, according to the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers. Their attacker or attackers have never been found, but authorities announced this week an increased reward of up to $100,000 for any pertinent information in the case.
“With this significantly increased reward, people who haven’t come forward with their information will be much more likely to do so now,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said in the recent release. “We are continuing our diligent work to bring justice to Nicholas and Stephanie.”
Metro Denver Crime Stoppers said Sunday that they were able to increase the reward due to anonymous contributions as well as a $10,000 donation from Franchise World Headquarters, LLC, the parent company of Subway.
Kunselman and Hart-Grizzell were both students at Columbine High School and part of a community that was still reeling from the mass shooting that had occurred less than a year prior, Denver7 reports. The pair, who had been friends since middle school, bonded after the Columbine shooting and “were coming through it so good and they were so happy,” Stephanie’s mother Kelly Grizzell told the outlet.
Following the murders, police released a description of a suspect: a white man between the ages of 16 and 20 years old, who is 5’7”, weighs between 150 and 170 pounds, and has light blond hair, according to Denver7. Police also investigated allegations that the killings may have been drug-related, due to rumors that the store was used for drug deals after hours and that nothing was stolen from the scene, but those leads never panned out, according to a 2017 Denver7 report.
On the night of the killings, Stephanie and her mother had been relaxing at home, Kelly Grizzell told the outlet in 2017. She didn’t know that her daughter had snuck out until she realized her car was missing the following morning; soon after, she turned on the news and saw reports of a shooting at a local Subway shop and footage of the scene showed Stephanie’s car in the parking lot. She then received the devastating news that her daughter was one of the victims, and she has been hoping for justice ever since.
“I thought that we would have the answers, like I say, within the first day or two. So 17 years – it’s been a very long time,” she told the outlet. “I certainly never thought I would still be asking for help and for resolution to this.”
Anyone with any information on the case is encouraged to submit a tip by contacting the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers by phone at 720-913-STOP or by submitting an anonymous tip online.