Anchorwoman's Murder Probe Cracks Cold Case

The investigation into the murder of popular Little Rock, Ark., anchorwoman Anne Pressly may help solve a second crime.

Kristen Edwards, of Marianna, Ark., was raped and attacked in April. Police say that DNA evidence from Pressly's crime scene matched Edwards' attacker, and detectives from both cities collaborated to search for a suspect. Curtis Lavell Vance was arrested Nov. 26 and charged with Pressly's murder.

Pressly, 26, a rising star on the local morning news scene, was beaten into a coma and raped in her apartment in October after a break-in, apparently by a stranger who took her laptop computer, a credit card and little else. The face so many in her hometown had come to know was crushed beyond recognition.

Curtis Vance

Some 100 miles away, Edwards, a schoolteacher and fan of Pressly, was attacked while getting ready for work.

"It was a surprise," Edwards told ABC News. "He was hiding in my living room, and I never saw it coming. Never saw it coming." Edwards' attacker had come at her from behind, and forced her to lie on her stomach so she could not see his face.

Crime Scene: 'Blood All Over the Walls'

Edwards said her rapist warned her not to turn around, and told her he had a gun and would kill her if she tried to look at him. And while she feared for her life until the end, she survived.


"I pretty much did as I was told to do," she said. "I didn't look, I didn't fight, I stopped yelling -- that sort of thing."

But Anne Pressly fought back against her attacker. Doctors also found that her left hand had been broken -- a defensive wound.

Pressly's mother, Patti Cannady, found her daughter the morning after the attack.

"It was brutal," she said. "Blood all over the walls; [I] could not recognize her."

Five days after the attack, Pressly's brain stem ruptured and she died.


"It is the worst nightmare that any human being could ever have to face," said Patti Cannady. "It is a nightmare to lose a child. To find your child. Our lives will never be the same."

She said she is determined to look her daughter's murderer in the eye.

"I am not leaving," she said. "I will see this person eye-to-eye. They'll have to face me. And God."

DNA Evidence Holds Key to Case

Kristen Edwards also wants the opportunity to confront her attacker.

"It's important for me to face him," she said. "I want to say to his face what he's done to me. I want that opportunity."

From day one, Little Rock police had powerful evidence in Pressly's case. She had fought her attacker and detectives recovered DNA from sperm, blood and his skin, taken from beneath Pressly's fingernails.

"We believed that we had enough to charge somebody if we just knew who that person was," said Lt. Terry Hastings, the public information officer for the Little Rock Police Department.

Two hours away in Lee County, Edwards' case remained unsolved.

"I knew if they ever found a suspect and could match DNA, but I didn't see his face, I didn't know if there would ever be a suspect," said Edwards.

"I have no shame whatsoever in what happened to me," she continued. "What happened to me was not my fault. I did everything that you're, I guess, supposed to do when something like that happens to you."

Edwards went to the hospital immediately after the attack, so detectives working her case had her rapist's DNA to compare. But for seven months there were no breaks in the case.

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