In July 2001, twenty-year-old Stephanie Sipe, a young mother with a two-year-old son, was found by her mother, brutally murdered in her Harrisonburg, Virginia apartment. Her throat had been slashed, and evidence of several horrific defensive wounds revealed that she died fighting for her life.
Her child was unharmed but, investigators would later learn, had been alone for several days, left by the killers.
The investigation focused on one likely suspect, a ruthless Russian mobster-Stephanie's former boyfriend and the boy's father-Ivan Teleguz. But because of a lack of witnesses, an apparent air-tight alibi, and a lack of matching DNA evidence, the case quickly went cold.
Why would anyone kill 20-year-old Stephanie Sipe? That was a good question. Pat Burns, the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) investigator who eventually looked into this murder while working another case, understood the most troubling question is always why.
This is the story of how dedication to duty, and a commitment to following every lead in a criminal case, often sends investigators down unexpected paths. Sometimes it leads to solving a horrifyingly brutal crime.