Nacole Smith Cold Case Murder Solved at Last

It was 26 years before the teenager’s family were able to learn who killed her.

Verity Partington
3 min readJan 6, 2022


Nacole Smith, who was murdered in 1995 (Image: Inside Crime)

One of Atlanta’s longest-running cold murder cases has been solved using genetic genealogy, authorities in Georgia have announced.

Nacole Smith, 14, was walking to school with her sister on June 7th 1995 when she realised she had forgotten an assignment and turned back to return home. However, as she walked through the woods to take a shortcut, she was attacked, raped, beaten and fatally shot in the face in what detectives said was a particularly violent assault.

Assistant District Attorney Adriane Love said: “The brutality in which she was treated likely was the result of the fact that she fought for her life.”

Hundreds of people were interviewed in the weeks following the murder and around 50 DNA samples were collected to rule out suspects and find who killed the youngster, but nothing matched the profile taken from the crime scene. The case slowly went cold.

Then, in 2004, a 13-year-old girl from East Point was also pulled into the woods and raped. She managed to escape and flee for her life, and afterwards bravely provided police with enough of a description of her attacker to build a composite sketch.

Importantly, DNA was once again taken that proved this new assault was connected to the murder of Nacole. But although detectives knew the mystery unsub was back, they found to their frustration that the genetic material could not be matched to anyone already in the nationwide DNA system. Once again, the murderer and rapist was getting away with his crimes.

Atlanta Detective Vince Velazquez worked on both cases and tirelessly pursued all possible leads in a bid to provide justice. The composite sketch was put on America’s Most Wanted and billboards across the country featured the assailant’s face in the hope that someone might recognise him.

Velazquez always said he believed the killer was still operating somewhere in the US and was flying under the radar because he had learned from his previous mistakes and was no longer leaving DNA.

But despite this determination, no further leads were forthcoming and Detective…



Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a