11 years later, former Abilene TV reporter Jennifer Servo's murder remains unsolved

POSTED: 9:15 PM Sep 18 2013   UPDATED: 3:03 PM Sep 19 2013
Jennifer Servo
ABILENE, Texas -

She was a news reporter in Abilene for three short months before she was murdered. 11 years ago Wednesday Jennifer Servo's body was found in her apartment at Hunter's Ridge.

"I called the apartment complex and said, ‘look I’ve been trying to get a hold of Jennifer, I left her a couple messages and she's not calling me back. Could you just run over and see you know maybe knock on her door and just see what's going on?’ …And then we heard on the scanner they called out the apartment complex and then some apartment number possible DOA," said Toby Dagenhart who was Servo’s news director at the time she was killed.

"When that went on the police scanner, the person who was there, the assignments manager being close to her the way that she was, I mean she just let out this scream that I can't even describe. It was just shock and disbelief and there are no words to describe it," said Downing Bolls, who worked with Servo.

Servo moved from Columbia Falls, Montana to chase her dream of becoming the next Katie Couric, but her dream turned into a nightmare.

Servo was found beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted. That was 4,015 days and nights ago. There’s still been no arrest, no suspects have been named and there's no justice for her family.

"We knew it was going to be difficult so I don't think that this case being unsolved for this long is a shock or surprise at least not to me," said Jeff Bell, lead detective in the Servo murder case.

Servo’s mother feels differently.

"I thought for sure it would've been solved within months and then the first year went by and we’re still waiting for some resolution to the case and nothing ever happens. Police stopped calling years ago with any new information or anything they were looking into so that's been frustrating," Sherry Abel, Servo’s mother said.

Police said the DNA evidence inside Servo’s apartment was “co-mingled” or mixed and because her door was never forced open they believed the killer knew her. The investigation was made even more difficult because of Servo’s cat, Mr. Binx, whose hair was mixed in with any potential human hair in the apartment.

Police said they have always had two main persons of interest; Servo’s ex-boyfriend, Ralph Sepulveda, and former KRBC weatherman, Brian Travers, whom she had just started dating.

"Travers was he was actually the last person actually with her and the relationship that they had just gotten together was actually the reason that he had been brought into that," said Bell.

Servo met Sepulveda in Montana. When she moved to Abilene he followed her and they lived together for a short time before breaking up.

To everyone involved Sepulveda seemed the number one person of interest in Servo's murder.

"All the times that we interviewed him he really never said anything that made us think this wasn't our guy," Bell said.

"I believe it was Ralph that killed her," Abel said.

The anniversary of Jennifer Servo's death is a painful reminder for those who worked with her.

"I go back and search and think every time the anniversary rolls around, ‘is there something somebody missed that they didn't tell somebody that would solve this case,’" said Bolls.

"Was there someone in the newsroom or was there something I don't know, you just don't know and just the not knowing is hard and it's hard not to blame yourself, but it was obviously one of the worst days ever," Dagenhart added.

For her parents it never gets easier.

"He’s lived 11 years with freedom and we've had 11 years without Jen," said Abel.

"It'll never be resolved, but I can't stand that someone thinks he's going to get away with this. I'm pretty obsessed with that," Servo’s father Norm Olson said.

"We feel that he should be in prison for what he did, taking somebody else's life, you know whether he didn't mean to do it that's one thing, but still we don't have our daughter anymore and he's free, so I'd like to see him in jail," said Abel.

Police, Servo's parents and her former coworkers all said they believe this case will eventually be solved.