The headline of the July 12, 2004, edition of The Arizona Republic read, "Girl, 15, found dead in bedroom."
The story began: "Police are investigating the death of a 15-year-old Phoenix girl whose brother found her dead Saturday night in her bedroom.
Elena Lasswell, who lives near the Encanto neighborhood, had been dead for several hours when her brother found her, said Detective Tony Morales, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department. She had injuries to her face but investigators aren't sure if the wounds caused her death, he said."
The night Elena, 15, was killed, her parents were staying at a hotel just 10 minutes from their home as a prize they won in a church lottery. Elena was the fifth of six children whom the Lasswells adopted as infants. The eldest son, 19, found his sister's body.
An autopsy found Elena had been strangled.
Police have not identified specific leads, but in an interview after her daughter was killed, Molly Lasswell said she later learned her daughter had invited a man she had met at the movies into her bedroom that Saturday.
Police say one of Elena's girlfriends was at the house and saw a man come in.
"She had prepared for this guy," Molly Lasswell said in July. "She had brought in candles to her bedroom and cleaned her room. It was definitely someone she knew."
Police say the man who visited Elena that night arrived in a small dark green or black four-door sedan, and they have released a composite of the person. Silent Witness is offering a $2,500 award for information leading to an arrest.
However, 18 months later, no suspect has been caught.
How you can help: Call Silent Witness at 1-800-343-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.