Police said they expect to make an arrest soon in the bludgeoning death of Michelle Young, the pregnant North Carolina mother who was killed three years ago in front of her young daughter Cassidy. But they wouldn't say whether the person they are eyeing was her husband.
On Tuesday, the third anniversary of Young's murder, Wake County law enforcement officials told ABC News affiliate WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., that they have not given up on the case, but have moved slowly to make sure that when they do make an arrest, it sticks.
"We've got one shot and we want to make sure when we go in with that shot, we're ready," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison told WTVD-TV.
"We realize it's been three years and we've been working hard, but we try not to impose artificial deadlines on ourselves," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said in an interview with WTVD-TV.
Michelle Young's mother, sister and other relatives have said they suspected her husband, Jason Young, from the start. In March, they were awarded $15.6 million in damages in a wrongful death lawsuit against him, notching a victory in their quest to hold him responsible for her death.
Though Jason Young has never been named a suspect by police, the lead investigator in the case testified during the civil court trial that detectives believe he killed her. The civil suit was filed by Michelle Young's mother, Linda Fisher.
"The pretty obvious point was, this is not the way to end a marriage," Jack Michaels, Fisher's attorney in Raleigh, told ABCNews.com in March after the civil court ruling. "There are divorce courts for that."
Though the family had asked for $36 million, they were awarded $3.9 million in compensatory damages and $11.7 in punitive damages.
"We're probably never going to collect any of this," Michaels said. But if they do, "virtually every dime would go to Cassidy," he said, and the rest to pay for Michelle Young's funeral expenses.
"The money doesn't mean anything," Michelle Young's best friend Jennifer Powers told ABCNews.com. "It's all about justice for Michelle."
Michelle Young's sister, Meredith Fisher, was awarded primary custody of the couple's nearly 5-year-old daughter last month, with visitation rights for Jason Young on weekends, holidays and other occasions.
Neither Jason Young nor his attorney appeared in court for the wrongful-death ruling. He was deemed responsible for his wife's death in civil court by default last year when he failed to respond to the suit.
"The focus there is on escaping criminal testimony," Michaels said of Jason Young's absence.
According to WTVD, Young has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence. Messages left today with his attorney, Roger Smith Jr. of Raleigh, were not returned and attempts to reach Jason Young or his family were unsuccessful.
Michelle Young, described by friends and family as the quintessential American girl, was found beaten to death on the floor of her bedroom in her home outside Raleigh on Nov. 3, 2006. Cassidy, then 2, was found in bed near her mother's body with clean feet despite child-size bloody footprints found elsewhere in the house. Police believe Cassidy may have been drugged.
Michelle Young was five months pregnant with the couple's second child, a son who would have been named Rylan.