Kristen Wilson always loved the holiday season. She enjoyed decorating the house and spending time with family and friends.
“I called her Ms. Christmas,” Kelly Hancock said of her older sister.
Kelly and Kristen were born three years apart. The two sisters had the typical sibling relationship growing up, but they grew closer as they grew older.
“We were really close,” Kelly said. “I’d go to her apartment and just hand out. Or we would go to the store and shop.”
Kristen was on the drill team in high school. She was always at the weekly football games with her team and she loved every minute of it.
“That was her world at the time. She loved life,” Kelly recalled.
Kristen Wilson was just 29 when she was murdered in 1996.
In preparation for Thanksgiving dinner the next day at her grandmother’s house, Kristen ran to the local grocery store to pick up a few items. She made it back home, unloaded the groceries, and went to change clothes in her bedroom.
An intruder was waiting for Kristen to make her way back to the bedroom and ambushed her. Kristen was raped and strangled.
When she didn’t arrive for Thanksgiving, her family began to worry. They went to Kristen’s apartment and found the front door unlocked. They then walked into the scene and discovered Kristen’s body.
“Her lineage ended. She never had any children, so we never got the chance to meet her kids and be an aunt to them,” Kelly said.
Despite never marrying or having children, Kristen was an aunt.
When Kelly gave birth to her son, he and Kristen immediately hit it off. “She loved cooking scrambled eggs with Kory,” Kelly said with a smile.
Kelly had another child shortly before Kristen’s murder. Sydni Lea was named after Kristen Lea Wilson, and she couldn’t be prouder.
“It was so exciting for her to be a part of Sydni’s birth,” Kelly said. Kristen was hoping that Sydni would be born on her own birthday so the two would have even more in common.
“I have a picture of Kristen’s hand on Sydni’s hand when she was first born,” Kelly said. Understandably, that’s one of her favorite mementos.
The decades since Kristen was taken have been hard on her family.
“My mom doesn’t really say much,” Kelly said. “But I haven’t given up.”
Kelly and her other sister Kimberly reach out to the local newspapers each year in hopes of having another story published about their lost sister.
Despite the lack of answers, Kelly and her family will not give up fighting for their beloved Kristen.
“We aren’t out in the spotlight like we should be,” Kelly admitted, “but I want people to know that we are still here, and we are still fighting for her.”
Mr. Wilson, Kristen’s father, passed away at the age of 66. He was the one that discovered his daughter lying on the floor. Kelly doesn’t want her mother to pass without knowing what happened to her daughter.
“My mom is 70-something years old. She’s held on to this for so long,” she said.
When asked what the world lost when Kristen was murdered, Kelly responded, “There’s so much. The world lost a great human being that cared for others, for animals, and would do anything for anyone.”
Kelly went to share that one reported once said that Kristen had an “infectious smile” and that their mother would call Kristen her “golden child.”
“She’s still my sister. She’s still a sister. Still a cousin,” Kelly said.
“And we’re still fighting for her.”
January 10, 2016
On November 27, 1996, the day before Thanksgiving, 29-year-old Kristen Wilson returned to her apartment in southwest Houston with last-minute groceries for the family holiday dinner planned at her grandmother’s house the next day.
After putting away the groceries she went to change clothes in her bedroom and was attacked by an unknown intruder.
When Kristen didn’t show up for Thanksgiving dinner and her family was unable to reach her by phone, they went to her apartment to check on her.
Kristen’s parents found her front door unlocked but no sign of forced entry. In her bedroom, they discovered her body, nude from the waist down. She had been strangled and possibly raped.
Investigators believe she fought her attacker as long as she could.
As Kristen’s case approaches 20 years without an arrest we ask that anyone with information, no matter how small, to please come forward and contact the Houston Police Department Cold Case Unit at (713) 308-3600.
If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, and possibly be eligible for a reward up to $5,000, contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-8477.
If you have a loved one that is the victim of an unsolved homicide please submit their case here for consideration in a future Cold Case Spotlight post.