EXCLUSIVE: One year after New Haven 19-year-old woman was shot and killed while asleep

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Today marks one year to the day that 19-year-old Hillhouse High School grad Kiana Brown was found shot to death in her sleep at a home on Valley Street. Her killer has never been caught.

Her family today issued a public plea for the community to step forward.

Brown was asleep at a friend’s house when police say a stray bullet went through the side of that house and struck her in the head. No one even realized she was hurt until the next morning when they couldn’t wake her up. Her family has been hunting for answers ever since.

“I don’t sleep at night. I toss and turn wondering what could I have done differently,” said Kiana’s mother Karen Brown, “I don’t know what happened to my child. And I need to know what happened to my child.”

Kiana loved her friends, her church, her family and Hillhouse, where she played basketball for 4 years.

“She was one of a kind. Walking and talking at 9 months old. Very assertive. The life of the party,” said Brown.

A year after Kiana’s death, the case is still open. Her uncle Reverend D’Hati Burgess says someone out there has the power to end his family’s suffering, simply by  mustering the strength to do the right thing and come forward with information that could help police.

Until then, her parents are in agony, unable to move forward.

“Right now their souls are vexed because they don’t know. And that’s the problem. That’s why we need closure. So they can grieve properly. And that they can begin to heal,” said Rev. Burgess.

New Haven Police unveiled its new regional shooting task force this week. Authorities say they’re focused on revisiting open cases after the heat of the moment has cooled, in the hopes neighbors and community members will have found the courage to speak out.

“There may not be the sense of fear from the individuals that we’re talking to, the community that we’re talking to, to be able to get more leads to relook at those cases and hopefully have success in making an arrest,” said Chief Renee Dominguez as she announced the new task force.

“The goal  now is to keep Kiana’s name alive and to keep fighting for justice. As my shirt says, justice for all and on the back#justiceforkiana,” said Rev. Burgess.

If you have information on Kiana Brown’s murder, or any of the city’s homicides,  you can anonymously call police at 1 866 888 TIPS. Or, text NHPD to 274637.

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