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Family and police reinvigorate murder cold case for Chelsea Small

Police say the suspect may have left the state of Michigan, and they are hoping people around the country can help identify him.
Family and police reinvigorate murder cold case for Chelsea Small
Posted at 9:53 PM, Nov 10, 2023

It was a murder committed in broad daylight and it was caught on camera. Yet it’s been 10 years and no one has been arrested. 

Chelsea Small’s family and police detectives came together in Taylor, Michigan, to announce a new reward for information that leads to an arrest. And they want people across the country to take a closer look at the video of the killer. 

Police say he may have left the state of Michigan, and they are hoping people around the country can help identify him.

"I'm begging you, please — please. It's been 10 years," said Debi Kamin, Small's mother. "We have been stuck in 2013 while life has continued to go on."

On Nov. 12, 2013, police say a man calmly walked into the Advance America check cashing store on Telegraph Road in Taylor. In less than a minute, he had fired two shots that killed Small.

Small was a single mom of two young children.

"My daughter missed raising her children," Kamin said.

"No piece of information is too small. Please allow us the opportunity to look at the information that you have," former Taylor Police Department Detective Steven Schwein said.

SEE MORE: Man arrested 40 years after woman was found beaten to death in a park

Schwein worked to solve Small's murder from the start. Even though he’s now retired, Schwein and other former Taylor police investigators still regularly volunteer their time to help with the case.

"You can’t help but take it personal," Schwein said. "You can't help but feel an overwhelming responsibility to provide the closure that they deserve."

On Friday, Schwein announced Crime Stoppers is increasing their original reward of $2,500 by another $2,500. That will be added to the $50,000 reward that Advance America is already offering, for a total of $55,000 for information that leads to the arrest of Small's killer.

"It's a completely solvable case," said Detective Mario Hinojosa, who currently is in charge of the homicide case.

Detectives say they’re now exploring advancements with ballistics and DNA technology.

"We actually reached out to NASA and had some conversations with them as to video of the surrounding area at the time," Schwein said.

Investigators say the shooter used a silencer on the .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol, so detectives have explored whether Small was targeted.

"There is nothing that we’re aware of that would give us reason to think that she was an intended target," Schwein said.

The suspect took some money from the check cashing store after the robbery, so that's another theory.

Police and Small’s family want everyone across the country to take a close look at the suspect who was caught on the store’s surveillance video.

Police say in 2013, it's believed he was between 35 and 50 years old.

He’s described as between 5-foot-10 and 6 feet tall with a slight curve in his upper back.

He had shoulder length brown hair and was wearing work uniform-style clothing with cargo pants and light colored shoes.

Police say he was extremely proficient with the gun and have considered suspects with security or militia training.

"He arrived and left with a drawstring sport-type backpack that he used to conceal the weapon,” Schwein said.

“I want people to watch that video. And if you have to watch it 100 times … somebody knows something. This family needs closure and we would like to be able to move on from all of this," Kamin said.

Meanwhile, Kamin is thanking the police for their dedication to solving her daughter’s murder.

"The Taylor Police Department has been wonderful, and especially the retired officers that take family time away to come in and spend time on her case is very touching to the family," Kamin said. "I couldn't ask for better human beings to help me through this."

Please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. You can stay anonymous. You can also call the Taylor police at 734-287-6611 if you have any information.

This story was originally published by Heather Catallo at Scripps News Detroit

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