One year after 16-year-old Hannah Truelove was killed near her home, the investigation remains at a standstill and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are again asking for the public’s help in the investigation.
The lack of closure in the case has added to the pain for Truelove’s family.
Her mother, Mona Harris, said family and friends have been “living a nightmare” since Hannah’s death in an emotional plea made in February, in which she asked anyone with information related to the case to come forward.
“I would like to send a message to anyone who may have information about Hannah’s death to please come forward and help me end this nightmare,” read Harris from a prepared statement, as she fought to stay composed. “I am haunted by Hannah’s death, as any mother can understand. Please help my family by coming forward with your information, even if that information is about your son or daughter. I feel sure you know they can’t come to grips with Hannah’s death until they are truthful about what happened to Hannah.”
Truelove, a Gainesville High School student, was found slain Aug. 24, 2012, behind Lake Lanier Club Apartments, where she lived with her mother. Her body was discovered in a heavily wooded area between the apartment complex and Lake Lanier.
She had been stabbed multiple times, investigators have said.
Michael Jackson was Hannah’s assigned counselor at Gainesville High School.
“I was her assigned school counselor, and like I do with all the kids, whether it be academic reasons, social, personal, they talk to me. That was the relationship I had with her,” he said.
Jackson said he interacted with her less than some of his other students, but that every meeting was positive. “She was a gentle spirit, from what I could see,” Jackson said. “The one thing about Hannah, she just seemed to have a free spirit. She was calm, respectful, well-mannered, and just seemed like she loved life.”
Harris echoed those sentiments in February, saying Hannah was caring and loving.
“As her mother, Hannah meant and still means the world to me. I spent 16 years watching her grow and develop into a caring and loving young lady. Hannah had such a great sense of humor and a bright future,” she said.
Jackson helped counsel grieving students in the aftermath of her death, and said he found that students handled it “remarkably well.”
“They were strong, they couldn’t understand what happened, but they were resolved to deal with it pretty strong,” he said.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said investigators are seeking a car that may have been in the area.
The car is a late 1990s to early 2000s four-door car, possibly a Chevrolet or Dodge, light silver with a white or lighter shade of silver driver’s door, and with heavy damage to the front.
“The vehicle may have been repaired after Hannah’s murder,” Wilbanks said. “Investigators believe the occupants of the vehicle may have information that will aid in the investigation. Anyone with information about the suspected vehicle or a vehicle that may have been similar that had body work done or changed the vehicle’s color is asked to come forward and provide that information to law enforcement officers.”
Furthermore, Wilbanks said, the office is hoping a renewed plea will compel people to come forward with information who have not.
“Investigators have interviewed a number of people in connection with the case, but are still seeking to speak with anyone that might have information beneficial to solving the case,” Wilbanks said.
Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order authorizing a $1,000 reward for the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for her death, and since then, a “Justice for Hannah” reward fund was set up in March at Independence Bank of Gainesville, where private donations can be made.