After Watching Oscar-Nominated Film, Md. Woman Took Out Billboard to Help Solve Twin's 1996 Killing
Jenny Carrieri knows that the truth is out there about her identical twin’s 1996 murder, and for years, she has waged a one-woman campaign to find the killer. But in recent months, inspired by a critically-acclaimed movie, Carrieri has ratcheted her efforts up.
In late October, weeks after seeing Frances McDormand‘s Oscar-winning turn as the tortured mother of a slain teen in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which was inspired by a true story, Carrieri decided to pay for a billboard, which went up in Baltimore about a mile from where her sister, Joanne “Jody” LeCornu, was fatally shot.
“I loved the movie and the whole billboard idea, and I related to the main character because my mission is and always has been to keep Jody’s case out there, until it’s solved,” Carrieri tells PEOPLE about her sister’s cold case.
Initially, the billboard offered a $32,000 for tips leading to the identification and apprehension of the killer. Featuring a smiling photo of LeCornu, the roadside ad featured the words “Find My Killer” and had the investigating department’s phone number so people could call with relevant information.
“It’s so frustrating trying to get the word out about her case, and to keep getting her story out there — keeping it alive,” says Carrieri, who still doesn’t know if the first billboard generated any new leads, because detectives are keeping the details of their investigation private.
A few weeks ago, the billboard was amended: Carrieri raised the reward offer to $100,000.
“People have been reaching out to me; they have been for years,” the determined twin tells PEOPLE. “Recently, I had a person reach out to me on social media and they said, ‘I think I know who killed your sister’ and started asking me these questions. I didn’t go to the police for a couple of days and I was never told who that person was.”
LeCornu, who was a Towson University student at the time of her death, was discovered dead in her white Honda Civic in March 1996. The vehicle was parked not far from her home in the Mount Washington section of Baltimore.
The Baltimore County Police Department’s Homicide Unit doesn’t know if LeCornu knew her killer. Police say the killer approached LeCornu’s car and spoke with her for a bit before firing a single shot into her back.
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LeCornu tried to escape her killer by driving across the street to the parking lot where her body would be found hours later, according to investigators.
But witnesses told detectives they saw an African-American man follow her across the street. Witnesses said he reached in through the driver’s side window, which was already rolled down, and shut the car off before taking something from the vehicle, according to police.
According to witnesses, the suspect then left the area in a white BMW, police tell PEOPLE.
No one has ever been arrested for LeCornu’s murder and investigators acknowledge they’ve had few leads to work with.
Over the years, Carrieri says she has heard the names of different men who may know something or were involved. She has even written to one of them in prison.
“He wrote several letters back, filled with religious stuff,” she explains. “He was also questioning why I was reaching out to him. He has tried calling me before … I’d just like some closure.”
Carrieri has also started a Facebook group to help raise awareness to the case and plans to start a fundraising campaign so she can increase the reward.
Baltimore County police investigators ask that anyone with any information on Joanne “Jody” LeCornu’s murder call them at (410) 887-2222.