Dickinson family searches for answers 15 years after teen murder

DICKINSON, Texas (KTRK) -- A lot of people are looking forward to Halloween, but the holiday marks a painful anniversary for a family in Dickinson.

It's been 15 years since someone raped and murdered Terressa Vanegas. The unsolved case, they say, is keeping them from closure.

Jeanette Vanegas is Terressa's mother.

"I would like to get some answers," she said.

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Jeanette has had the same questions for 15 years. She wants to know who killed her daughter and why.

"Around her birthday and around Halloween time, it's hard. It's just hard," she said.

The 16-year-old went missing after a party on Halloween night in 2006. Her body was discovered three days later in a field across from Dickinson High School.

Despite dozens of interviews and DNA evidence, Dickinson police said they don't have any leads.

"I know somebody out there... I know they know who did it." Jeanette said.

She said she's frustrated with the silence from the community and from police.

"Me, as a parent, I just feel like I don't have rights, because I never get an update on the case. To me, it's just like they want to forget about it."

Without information, the Vanegas family said all they can do is hold on to their memories, their faith and the hope that someone will do the right thing.

"Maybe if they see this and they have a heart, something will click and they will go to the authorities," Jeanette said.

Amanda Vanegas is Terressa's sister.

"15 years is long enough. If somebody knows anything, come forward. Say something," she said.

Anyone who can help the Vanegas family find answers can call the Dickinson Police Department at 281-337-4700 or Galveston County Crime Stoppers at 409-763-8477.

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