It’s an unsolved murder, almost-forgotten, of an Atlanta woman outside her apartment door just 7 months ago. The victim’s family, though, will never forget.
Now detectives are urging people to watch the surveillance video, certain that someone will recognize something about this suspect and call police.
Family photos show Tychika Hefflin celebrating her birthday on May 4, 2014, with her family. It was a happy day. The family was always getting together on birthdays and holidays.
No one could have known that this would be one of their last times with Tychika.
“It just feel like part of me – gone,” her cousin Lisa Hefflin said, holding back tears. “Part of me left and went somewhere.”
The whole family lives with that same agony in their hearts where Tychika used to be.
“She was walking down the sidewalk,” Detective Calvin Thomas of the Atlanta Police Department said, beginning to describe the seemingly routine circumstances leading up to her murder.
It was on October 18, 2016 when Tychika was walking home in the dark by herself on Harwell Road in southwest Atlanta. She was by herself – but not alone.
She didn’t notice that at least two men in a Toyota Corolla had spotted her and drove into her apartment complex. The gate at the driveway entrance was not secured.
She walked up to her building and was moments from her door. She had only moments to live.
A young man got out of the car and walked toward Tychika.
“Neighbors heard one shot,” Detective Thomas said. “She had been shot once in the upper torso - her neck.”
Did she and her assailant know each other? Police haven’t ruled out anything. But the motive, they believe, was simply robbery. Tychika was carrying her purse when she was attacked.
“After the shooting, he’s running back toward the car with what appears to be a purse,” Detective Thomas said.
He added that it appears that she was killed for nothing other than that bag.
“She had no idea that it was coming, and it’s pretty sad,” Thomas said.
Now Detective Thomas is reassuring Tychika’s family that 7 months later, he’s working as hard as ever on this case for them – and for their slain loved-one.
“We were all very close,” Belinda Harrison said. She and Tychika were cousins.
A childhood photo on the Facebook page of Tychika's sister shows the happy girl everyone always called “Pinky.”
“She loved Michael Jackson,” Harrison said. “When she was little, she would hear his music in her sleep and wake up and dance. She pretty much grew up in the church, both her parents were ministers.”
And Pinky was a straight-A student at Crim High School - until she rebelled, lost her way.
“She was kind of wild, a little bit, at first,” Harrison said. “She just went down a road that she tried to come back from."
They saw how Tychika was trying to change her life. She’d been on probation for two misdemeanor offenses and she received therapy. They said she was doing well, for the rest of her life - the last four years of her life.
“She was a beautiful person,” Harrison said. “We loved her. We accepted her for who she was.”
Sadly, police don’t have much to work with in finding those responsible – merely a small clip of video.
“It’s not a whole lot to go on,” Thomas said. “It doesn’t show the suspect’s face, but just his clothing, and just the way that he walked.”
Distinctive enough, Detective Thomas said, for someone to recognize him and call police. The Crime Stoppers reward is up to $2,000 for anonymous tips in the case.
“It’s like, okay, for 7 months, somebody’s been out here, free, who took her life.” Harrison said. “And I’m sure they’re gonna do it again. That person needs to be brought to justice.”
“Anybody, if you know anything, see anything – please tell us something. Anything,” Hefflin said.
The family of Pinky is in agony without her – and fighting for her. Always together for her – always.
“Just please call.”
“Please help us.”
Anyone who can help the family of Tychika "Pinky" Hefflin, and help police, solve the case can contact Crime Stoppers and leave tips anonymously to qualify for the reward of up to $2,000. The number is 404-577-TIPS. 404-577-8477.