Mother of Cold Case Victim Pleads for Help

Sue Beard still wants answers about her daughter's murder 20 years ago


"Make an arrest and help us sleep better." Sue Beard is resolute. Her 8-year-old daughter Kristen Gray was found floating in a South Miami-Dade canal 20 years ago. Police interviewed a slew of people, rounded up area sex offenders, and had plenty of leads but none that panned out.

Kristen had a new pair of roller skates. Mom bought them at a yard sale. Kristen had permission from her step dad to skate in the hallway of their apartment complex located near the Dadeland Shopping center. He was doing the family wash in the third floor laundry room. Each time he crossed the hallway he checked on Kristen. At 4 p.m. Kristen was gone.

Sixteen hours later a fisherman found the ballet student floating in the canal. Her mother remembers, "A freckle-faced 8-year-old..floating face down, like a broken doll, the red print of her sun dress bright in the dark green water. She was barefoot. Her new white roller skates with blue wheels were missing. So was her underwear."

Detective Alvaro Zabaleta says the police recently received "a tip." What that tip was police are not saying, but in an effort to flush out more clues, tips, and information the Miami-Dade Police Department distributed video images of the original crime scene, a current interview with Sue Beard and a reenactment at the crime scene. It is a major effort to move the case.

Kristen Gray was strangled. "That's pretty rotten, killing a kid and throwing them, trying to hide the body in a canal," Sue Beard said.

Twenty years later is there much hope that someone will come forward with the key to the case? Police do not give up on cold cases, and with new informational and scientific technology not available in the past they have increased chances of success.

Zabaleta hopes that, "...the community can look at the footage and perhaps remember any little detail that can help out this case."

Crime stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward.

Sue Beard says here daughter is an angel and that she will see Kristen again someday. First she'd like to have closure. She is assured that Miami-Dade detectives are all over that project.

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