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Posted under: News

After 26 Years, The Cold Case Of 14-Year-Old Nacole Smith Is Reopened By Atlanta Officials

Authorities say they are now able to test and reevaluate untested evidence, and are "praying" to locate the killer.

Authorities in Atlanta are reopening the case of 14-year-old Nacole Smith who was gruesomely killed nearly three decades ago in a wooded area close to her home.

Monday marked the 26th year since the killing of the teenager. On the day of her death, Smith left school early because she forgot her homework assignment at the house. On her way back home, she tried to cut through the park where she was attacked, raped and shot in the head twice, according to CBS46 in Atlanta.

After years of the case going cold, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office said it's going to test and re-evaluate evidence that went untested. County officials also say that they are “praying” that this is the year the 14-year-old’s case will be solved.

"The brutality in which she was treated likely was the result of the fact that she fought for her life," Assistant DA Adriane Love told CBS46.

Ever since her daughter’s untimely death, Acquanela Smith has been fighting tirelessly to bring her child’s killer to justice.

"So what kind of mom would I be if I don't fight to bring this guy to justice?” she said. "Just a matter of time [before] I'll be able to breathe again."

Last year, the 14-year-old’s family held a vigil near the spot she was found for the 25th anniversary of her death. Friends and family prayed and marched to the wooded area where she lost her life, according to CBS46.

“She took her last breath there, it was the last place she was alive, and I walked there, because I wanted to be able to feel her last breath,” the girl’s mother said.

The person who attacked Nacole assaulted another girl a few years later as the DNA from both crime scenes matched up. Additionally, CBS46 reports that officials are honing in on a suspect through genetics as they've potentially found the offender's distant relatives.

The news station also reports that CSI Atlanta has been mindful of the family’s fight for justice and recently worked with a forensic artist to update a sketch of the killer.

With new advances in technology, the investigators believe Nacole's case is closer than ever to being solved. Members of the girl’s community are just as hopeful.

“Someone knows something, so it’s about keeping her memory alive, keeping this at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” family friend Cassandra Bolding shared. “We’re very much looking forward to the day when justice is served.”

“We miss her very much, she was a true, dear friend, and we’re hoping that this year, definitely, is the last year that we’re saying we’re hoping they catch him,” another family friend, Taundra Johnson, said.

After decades of frustration, Acquanela said she isn’t going to give up and is driven by honoring her child’s memory.

"So I just keep pushing and keep fighting cause I know she's watching and saying 'my mom is going to get him,'" she said. 

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