| Crime |

Reward Up to $100,000 in Subway Murder of Teens Near Columbine

A photo of the late Nick Kunselman and Stephanie Hart-Grizzell.
A photo of the late Nick Kunselman and Stephanie Hart-Grizzell.
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Early on Valentine's Day 2000, Nick Kunselman, fifteen, and Stephanie Hart-Grizzell, sixteen, were murdered at a Subway restaurant near Columbine High School. More than two decades later, the case remains unsolved — but that could change. The reward for information leading to the arrest of the individual or individuals who committed this crime, which had been bumped up to $12,000 on February 14, 2020, has now been increased almost tenfold, to $100,000.

According to Denver Metro Crime Stoppers, the increase was powered in part by members of the community who wish to remain anonymous, as well as a $10,000 contribution from Franchise World Headquarters LLC, the corporate entity that encompasses Subway.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office account of the incident starts at 12:47 a.m. on February 14, 2000, shortly after an employee drove past the Subway branch located at 6768 West Coal Mine Avenue in Littleton and noticed that the lights were still on. The staffer entered the eatery and discovered two bodies behind the counter: Kunselman, who'd been working the late shift that evening, and Hart-Grizzell, who was waiting for him to finish up.

The pair had been shot to death.

The killings received plenty of attention at the time for reasons that went beyond the specifics of the case. After all, they took place less than a year after the April 20, 1999, attack on nearby Columbine High School, where the two were students. Yet little progress was made in determining who was responsible.

Another look at Nick Kunselman and Stephanie Hart-Grizzell.
Another look at Nick Kunselman and Stephanie Hart-Grizzell.

Indeed, "A Low Blow," a July 25, 2002, Westword story by Alan Prendergast, revealed that the only person with any connection to the victims to be arrested by that time was Kelly Grizzell, Stephanie's mother, who was busted by the JCSO for harassment and obstruction of a peace officer in October 2001 for what she described as a minor matter blown out of proportion. The resolution of the dispute included an order for Grizzell to make regular visits to a grief counselor.

At the time of the article, only one detective was assigned to "Jefferson County's most notorious open homicide investigation," Prendergast reported. Today, however, the JCSO maintains that personnel "have been working this case continuously since its occurrence 21 years ago," adding, "The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office knows that someone out there has a key piece of information that they have kept to themselves for the past 21 years. They further believe that this piece of information, no matter how small, could lead to an arrest in this case."

"With this significantly increased reward, people who haven’t come forward with their information will be much more likely to do so now," notes Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader. "We are continuing our diligent work to bring justice to Nicholas and Stephanie."

Anyone with information about the case can call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867) or click to submit a tip online.

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