A young college student was driving home from a party with her boyfriend and two others when they were chased, hit by an SUV and then shot in north Phoenix in 2003.
It was around 2 a.m. on June 14, 2003, when 20-year-old Lynsey Chainhalt and her friends were driving on State Route 51 near Northern when three people in dark blue Yukon or Tahoe started throwing beer bottles at her car, after a verbal altercation. Police say Lynsey tried to get away from SUV, getting off the freeway at Bell Road.
Near 20th Street and Bell Road, her car was rammed by the SUV and crashed into a homeowner's front yard. The SUV passed them and then turned around, driving back to the car where they got out and opened fire on Lynsey and her friends.
Police say seventeen shots struck the vehicle. Rescue workers removed the four injured people from the bullet-riddled car. Two of the victims were treated and released from the hospital. Another, 22-year-old Ryan Jones, continues to suffer from the critical injuries he was given that day, including a bullet that remains in his head, behind his left eye. Chainhalt was fatally shot.
Lynsey Chainhalt was a student at Paradise Valley Community College where she was studying to be a nurse. She also worked at Coco’s Restaurant where she developed a close relationship with the 'pie and coffee' customers there. At a sidewalk memorial, family and friends remembered her with flowers, teddy bears, and words, calling her a big-hearted and generous young woman, with great potential.
Family members said Lynsey was the glue that held the family together after her 12-year-old brother died in a car accident just three years before Lynsey’s murder.
After fourteen years, Lynsey's Mother, Judi Petersen, said she still got goosebumps when she considers the outpouring of support from the community. She relayed a story of how she received a call from the funeral home telling her a woman from San Diego had donated the entire cost of the funeral. That woman was the daughter of one of Lynsey’s regular customers at Coco's.
"I pray that one person will come forward"
Police still consider Ricardo Sanchez Molinares and Fermion Gomez as persons of interest in this matter. Judi believes there’s someone out there with information regarding them. She said, "I pray that one person will come forward."
There continues to be a 'Silent Witness' reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case