The season of love is upon us. We are heading into Valentine’s Day… For most of us, it’s a loved-filled day, with flowers, candy, and gifts… 

But for some… This day signifies death, grief, and loss…

Loss of loved ones is never easy, but it’s absolutely horrific when a loss of life occurs before a young person’s life has even truly begun.

This is the case of the Columbine Couple. The horrific murder of two teens in love… On Valentine’s Day! This is the unsolved murder of Stephanie Hart-Grizell and Nick Kunselman.

To get into this case I need to preface it a little… I bet the majority of our listeners remember the Columbine High School shooting.

If not, I’ll give you a summary of the event… 

On April 20th, 1999, in Columbine, Colorado, two teens, murdered twelve students and one teacher. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were in the 12th grade at the time.

Gunshots injured a total of 21 additional people and 3 additional people were injured while trying to escape. 

Gunfire was exchanged with law enforcement and ultimately the two teens committed suicide by shooting themselves. 

I don’t want to get too much more into that… Only the survivors deserve discussion…

Less than one year after this high school massacre two more teens were murdered about 10 minutes away from Columbine. Both teens had attended Columbine and were present during the massacre. 

Stephanie was 16 and Nick was 15. The two had been dating for about two years. Their family and friends described them as inseparable. And often they were described as old souls… They had a love for the 60s and art as well as music. 

They met in middle school and their families stated they loved each other more than they thought teens could. 

On the night of February 13th, 2000, Nick was finishing up his shift at a Subway sandwich shop on Coal Mine Avenue in Littleton, Colorado. Stephanie drove to the shop to wait for her love to finish his shift.

But this is the end of the story for Stephanie and Nick… They were never seen alive again. 

Near 1 am on February 14th, 2000 an unnamed employee of the same Subway shop drove by and noticed all the lights on in the business. He thought this was odd, so he stopped off to see why the business lights were all on. 

As he arrived and went inside the unlocked shop, he saw a white male, about 5’8 with blonde hair running out the back door. He was wearing a red jacket and flared pants. He would be in his late teens or early 20s.

He then found Stephanie and Nick behind the counter. They had been shot and were dead. 

This is where the story goes cold… 

In the year 2000 technology was still coming along, slowly. There was no digital footprint… The first major social media platform, MySpace was still a few years away from its start. 

Cameras were not as high-tech as they are now. The only information we have is from the eyewitness who found the bodies.

What we do know is the store was not robbed. Perhaps the intention may have been to rob the store, but no money was taken. And Stephanie’s vehicle was still in the parking lot. A trophy of the killing wasn’t taken as we have seen in serial killings.

So was this an inexperienced killer? A robbery attempt gone bad? 

I wasn’t able to determine what the hours were for this Subway store, but in my research, I found that most Subways close no later than 10 pm. So this leads me away from the robbery attempt theory. 

We know this because the unknown employee who found the bodies arrived sometime in the midnight hour and he saw someone running out. If the store typically closed around 10 pm, why would the killer or robber still, be there?!

If this individual arrived before closing, why stay till midnight? And leave the front door unlocked the entire time? 

An interesting situation comes into play though… The rumor is that this store was being used for drug deals. Drugs were supposedly being dealt right out the backdoor. Possibly a drug user came for a deal but found Nick and Stephanie instead of a normal dealer. 

This theory is a strong one. Anytime drugs are involved you could be dealing with desperate criminals looking for their next fix.

Let’s move forward from the drug theory… Could this have been a crime of passion? Perhaps one of these lovers had a stalker or someone very jealous of their love. 

I read in one article that Stephanie had snuck out of the house that night. Could someone have followed her? 

On the night Stephanie was at the Subway with Nick, her mother and her had a relaxing evening and then she snuck out… Her mother had no idea Stephanie was gone until she noticed Stephanie’s car missing the next morning. She then turned on the news and saw the reports of a shooting at the local Subway, she also saw Stephanie’s car in the parking lot within a news report. 

Circling back to the store cameras. There was a blind spot in the camera… So now I wonder if the killer was familiar with the blind spot in the camera. Could this have been an employee? 

So now let’s put our facts together….

Nothing is missing in the store, so it wasn’t robbed. Nevertheless, the store most likely didn’t close at midnight… Probably closer to 10 pm… Possibly even 11, but why would the potential killer be seen running out of the store at midnight? 

I did read that the coworker who found the bodies only stopped because she noticed the store’s lights were on and should have been turned off by this time. 

I often wondered if these two love birds stayed well after hours hanging out… Possibly forgot to lock the door. 

This brings up the same question as before… Did they stay late to hang out and forget to lock the doors?

 My biggest question here is why were they there after midnight… It seems odd for a Subway to be open that late. 

Next fact… Is that this killer stayed completely out of the security camera’s reach, possibly the killer knew the store layout and the camera blind spots so could this have been planned. 

If it was planned by someone they knew or an unknown stalker, why didn’t they ambush them by their car or in another location that is not so visible to the public? 

If you have more information about these murders, you’re asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers (720) 913-7867

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