A D.C. police officer pulled up behind an idling car in the pre-dawn darkness of Northeast four months ago tonight and discovered two gunshot victims, both mortally wounded.
Kiysha Hunter, 29, of Temple Hills, and Kenneth Green, 23, of Capitol Heights, each had been shot more than once. Green was pronounced dead in the car. Hunter was taken to Washington Hospital Center, but she, too, was dead.
Police Detectives Chris Kauffman, left, and Robert Alder return to where Kenneth Green, 23, and Kiysha Hunter, 29, were found fatally shot at 3:20 a.m. on Aug. 30. "We have no inkling who did this," Alder says. "We just have nothing."
(Lauren Victoria Burke For The Washington Post)
Detectives found nothing at the scene to help their investigation. There was little traffic at that time of the morning, and there were no apartments or houses to check for witnesses.
Even after painstakingly piecing together the victims' final hours, detectives said, they generated no leads. The case immediately went cold.
"This case has lots of questions," said D.C. homicide Detective Robert Alder, who has investigated killings in the District for the last 11 years. "We have no inkling who did this. We don't have a single witness. We don't have a motive. We just have nothing. That's it, unfortunately."
From the first moments, Alder knew that the double killing could wind up joining the more than 4,100 unsolved District homicides that have occurred since the late 1960s.
The killing had occurred at 33rd Place and South Dakota Avenue NE, but investigators could not pin down an exact time. Detectives had no reports of gunfire and knew only that the car had been discovered about 3:20 a.m. by the patrol officer.
With nobody to question at the scene, Alder and fellow Detective Chris Kauffman quickly turned to friends and relatives for information.
They learned that Hunter and Green were friends and lived in Prince George's County.
They had spent the hours before the shooting at the Crossroads Entertainment Complex and Restaurant in the 4100 block of Baltimore Avenue in Bladensburg, just across the District line, friends told the detectives.
That evening, the investigators visited the nightclub, hopeful that they might uncover a dispute, fight or argument that might point to the killers.
But the club's employees said Hunter and Green did not get into any altercations that night. The two left the club about 2:45 a.m., Alder said.
Hunter and Green then drove back into the city and took 33rd Place NE to South Dakota Avenue NE. The detectives believe their victims might have been taking a shortcut to Interstate 295 and then to Hunter's apartment in Temple Hills, where Green had left his car.
Even as they traced the victims' final hours, they were also delving into their pasts. But they found nothing suspicious. Both came from good families, the detectives said. Both had jobs. Both were parents of young boys.
With no leads, the detectives said, they have been left only to contemplate theories and hope that somebody calls them with a tip. Police are offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information in the case.
"We really need the community's help with this one," Kauffman said.
The slayings shocked members of both families.
The youngest of three children, Hunter grew up in a single-family home in rural St. Mary's County.
She worked as a clerk and receptionist and landed a job at George Washington University Hospital in the days before her death, family members said.
She also had a 5-year-old son, police and relatives said.
Green's mother, Lillian Maclin, said she often ponders what happened to her son, the father of two young boys.
Every day, when she commutes to work as a respiratory therapist, Maclin drives the fateful route her son took on Aug. 30.
One night, after getting home from work, she realized she had been stuck at the same stoplight where the killing had occurred.
"I was like, oh my goodness, I was sitting in the place where they killed him," said Maclin, who lives in Southeast. "This was the last place my son was living. Sometimes, I think, 'Why does the light have to catch me?' "
Green attended D.C. public schools but later dropped out, eventually earning a GED. He loved football and rarely missed a Washington Redskins game. He still dreamed of walking onto the field to join the team as a quarterback, Maclin said.
As a teenager, he ran into problems with marijuana, which he eventually put behind him with the help of a counseling program that focused on job skills. Through the program, he learned to operate a television camera and edit video footage. If football didn't pan out, Maclin said, Green wanted to pursue a career in the television industry.
Most recently, he had been working as a pizza delivery driver and had accepted a job at an auto parts shop to help earn extra money for his sons, 2 and 4 years old, Maclin said.
"It's not fair that when they were getting their stuff together, somebody snuffed them out," Maclin said.