$100K offered for information in Valentine’s Day double murder

Local News

LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — The reward for information in the Valentine’s Day murder of two high school sweethearts has been raised to $100,000. Our partners at Metro Denver Crime Stoppers, along with several community partners announced the reward increase on the 21st anniversary of the double murder. 

Stephanie Hart-Grizell and Nick Kunselman were shot and killed on Feb. 14, 2000 at 12:47 a.m. in a Subway sandwich shop a few blocks south of Columbine High School. Nick was an employee of Subway and Stephanie was at the restaurant waiting for him to get off work. 

Their families have been waiting for a break in the case, but so far, no one has been arrested. But the case has not been forgotten. 

“The reward in this case is now up to $100,000. What this shows is people still care, people want answers, people want justice for Nick and Stephanie and the entire community,” Sarah Johnston with Metro Denver Crime Stoppers said.

The increase from $12,000 to $100,000 makes is one of the largest rewards ever offered by Metro Denver Crime Stoppers.  

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said, “This would be the time for us to go all in and put an amount there that would get the attention of people. Hopefully it gets folks taking and maybe it gets to the person who has the information we need.” 

Investigators in the past have released two sketches of the suspect based on different witness descriptions. Sheriff Shrader says this case is solvable, even 21 years later.

“Leads went cold for a long period of time. After having some staff to dedicate to get back into the files, we think we have been able to generate some information and additional leads. The person still may be in the area, but I believe whether they are or not, there are other people who have information that have not gone far from the area,” Shrader said.

The hope is with $100,000 on the line, the right person will come forward with the right information to help find the killer or killers.

“We are hoping with this huge reward, not only will it bring recognition to the case, hopefully jog someone’s memory, and hopefully inspire someone to finally come forward and give us the missing piece that can finally bring justice to nick and Stephanie after all these years,” Johnston said.

Shrader said he hopes to solve this case before he retires in a couple of years.

“A friend of me asked me a year and a half ago, before you retire, is there anything you’d like to do or any case you’d like to solve. This is one of those and probably the top of the list,” Shrader said.

“One, it hits home. My daughters were the same age Stephanie Hart was at the time that she was killed. In addition to that, the connection to the Columbine community and the tragedies that went on during that same time frame, this has remained top of mind. For that reason I am passionate to get it solved for the sake of that community,” Shrader said.

He said he feel a personal connection to the case and has gotten to know the victim’s families.

“This was a time when we had paper pay checks. Stephanie’s mom worked at the bank I would go to, not that she knew who I was at the time, but I certainly knew who she was. My heart broke for her each time I had that interaction with her. She was professional and friendly and did her job, there had to be heartbreak behind what she was doing. For those reasons, and the fact that there is a killer out there still that I would like to see brought to justice. This is about making sure there is justice for the young people who were killed 21 years ago, about doing the best we can for the sake of the families, about bringing justice for the sake of the Columbine community,” Shrader said.

The hope is with $100,000 on the line, the right person will come forward with the right information to help find the killer or killers.

“We are hoping with this huge reward, not only will it bring recognition to the case, hopefully jog someone’s memory, and hopefully inspire someone to finally come forward and give us the missing piece that can finally bring justice to nick and Stephanie after all these years,” Johnston said.

“Horrific crimes like this one have an enormous impact on our community and touch the lives of everyone. We are hopeful that the increase will result in tips that will lead investigators to the person or persons responsible for this crime and hopefully start the closure process for the family and friends of Nicholas and Stephanie, as well as the community,” Michael Mills, Board President of Metro Denver Crime Stoppers said. 

“On behalf of our all-volunteer Board of Directors and privately and anonymously funded donors, we will continue to work with the community and our law enforcement partners until this case is solved,” Mills said.

If you have information, call our partners at Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at (720)913-7867 or (720)913-STOP. Tips can also be submitted online. Tipsters can remain anonymous.  

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