It has been an agonizing year and a half for one Charlottesville family, still not knowing who killed Pherbia "Faye" Tinsley.
"It just doesn't, it still doesn't seem real at times,” said Barbara Paige, Tinsley’s mother. “Sometimes I just have to sit down and think, it's just amazing because I'll be thinking that she's here, but then deep down inside I know she's not."
There have been few leads and no arrests in the case, and family members say they would at least like to know police are making progress finding her killer. The family is concerned that Tinsley's case is stagnant. But police say, while it may appear one way on the outside, things are moving forward behind the scenes.
Tinsley was found shot to death, slumped over the wheel of a car in the 800 block of Prospect Avenue. Paige and others are still trying to figure out why someone would kill a person who was known for helping others.
"She was such a nice girl, and there are a lot of people who come to me and tell me how nice she was to them. I don't care whatever they needed or what, she'll do it for them,” Paige said.
Paige believes the clues in Tinsley’s death may lie in what happened before she was killed. Paige says hours earlier, she and her daughter played bingo in Albemarle County where Tinsley won $600. She later received a phone call at 4:30 a.m. - and the family thinks that's how she ended up on Prospect Avenue.
"I would talk to her and tell her, no you don't need to go nowhere this time of morning. So I believe she went to help somebody. They knew she had won money. The person she went to help…I believe they knew she had the money. I'm not sure of that, I'm not positive, that's just my feeling,” Paige said.
The family says it's hard to know what to think because police have not provided any updates.
"It's not fallen off the radar; we still work for the victim in these cases, always,” said Lieutenant Ronnie Roberts with the Charlottesville Police Department.
Charlottesville police say Tinsley's case is an active and ongoing investigation, but that they have intentionally held back information.
"Progress has been made in the case, but really as far as for public consumption there is nothing we can really give up to the public as it may jeopardize a lot of the leg work that's been done by the investigators in the case,” Roberts said.
As they wait for a breakthrough, the Tinsley family is pleading with witnesses and the person responsible to come forward. The family has been talking about ways to come up with a reward fund in hopes that would encourage those who know something to speak up.
If you have any information in this case, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
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