PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Darien Richardson's parents joined Portland Police detectives to ask for the public's help finding the person responsible for her death. They hope by offering a $10,000 reward, someone will come forward and help solve this cold case.
Richardson and her boyfriend were asleep in their home on Rackleff Street January 8, 2010 when a masked gunman burst into their bedroom and opened fire. The 25-year-old woman was shot in the hand and in the thigh. Her boyfriend was shot in the arm.
Both were treated at a local hospital and expected to recover. About two months later, while in Florida on vacation, Darien Richardson died as a result of a blood clot that formed in an artery. The medical examiner determined the blood clot was caused by the gunshot wound.
Portland Police have searched for more than two and a half years for the person responsible for the attack. Leuitenant Vern Malloch says despite their efforts, the case has gone cold.
"We now are fairly certain this shooting was related to the illegal trafficking of prescription drugs, specifically Oxycontin," stated Malloch. "Our investigation does not tell us, or does not suggest, that Darien had any role in drug trafficking, rather we believe that she is the victim of the violence that can be associated with this."
"There really are no words that adequately convey the heartache that comes from such a loss," said Judi Richardson, Darien's mother. "We miss Darien everyday, every way. We miss her laugh, her voice, her big brown eyes, her beautiful smile. We miss her elegant way of walking and her dancers grace. We miss her kind and helpful ways."
Her family has created a website and non-profit organization to raise awareness about the victims of violent crimes, and also has been raising money to offer up as a reward for information which leads to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible for her death.
On Monday, they announced a $10,000 reward for anyone willing to come forward and provide the information police need to bring Darien's killer to justice.
"She left us so many happy memories, but right along side them is this unanswerable question of 'why did this happen?' We need to have the answers," pleaded her mother. "We deserve to have the answers and we deserve to have justice for Darien. Many people say it will get easier with time, but actually the more time that goes by, it becomes increasingly harder."
Portland Police say the .45 caliber pistol used in the shootings was used in another homicide in the city. On February 10, 2010 Daudoit Butsisi used the gun to kill Serge Mulongo. Butsisi was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the murder and has refused to answer questions about where the gun came from.
Darien's parents believe other people in the community know who is responsible and are begging them to come forward.
"Every time the family gets together, we feel the void that she's left," explained Judi Richardson. "Our family hasn't been the same and never will be the same. The loss of Darien has changed who we are as people and our outlook on life."
Anyone with information about Darien Richardson's murder is urged to contact the Portland Police Department at 207-874-8533.