POWAY (NEWS 8) - Homicide investigators and relatives of a 14-year-old Poway girl slain by an unknown suspect 51 years ago held a news conference Tuesday in hopes of generating tips in the unsolved case.
Nikki Benedict was walking home from a friend’s house when she was stabbed and left to die in a field on Poway Road on May 1, 1967.
"She was very kind," said Nikki's sister Marianna who was just 5 years old when her sister was killed.
The photo below, taken shortly before the murder, is one of Marianna's treasured memories. Nikki is on the far left and Marianna is second from the right.
"It's been a rollercoaster of emotions," said Marianna. "I wonder if the person is still alive."
The original on-scene investigation showed evidence of a struggle a short distance from the location where Nikki was found.
Investigators also recovered the murder weapon, but, even with improving DNA technology, it's never led them to a suspect. They have also conducted countless interviews and followed up on several theories, but still no arrest has been made.
"There's a lot of people who find it interesting and speculate a lot and I've just found that's just a road to heartbreak," said Marianna.
But she's is not giving up, which is why she asked reporters to share Nikki's story.
On the painful anniversary of her sister's death, she's hoping someone who knows something will still come forward.
""Am I hoping for a miracle? No. Would I like to see one? Absolutely," said Marianna.
Cold case investigators with the sheriff's department are also not giving up. They continue to review the evidence, hoping for a new break in the case.
"We're hoping that someone out there has some information, whether it be small or big - call us. Call Crimestoppers and let us know." said San Diego Sheriff's Department Detective Will Altenhof.
Marianna says people tell her it happened so long ago that she should just move on. But she says she won't do that until Nikki's killer is identified and hopefully questioned.
"It will be painful, but it will be a million pounds taken off our shoulders to answer the question 'why?' said Marianna.
Authorities are offering a $1000 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest in this case.