After graduating from college in 2001, Virginia natives Stephanie Bennett and her step-sister Deanna moved to North Carolina seeking independence. It was their first time living away from home and they were excited to begin their journey into adulthood.
The young women rented an apartment on Lake Lynn Drive, a community known for its southern charm and beautiful hiking trails, but after just a year, their dreams of falling in love, getting married and raising their future children together were shattered and three families were brutally torn apart.
On the evening of May 21, 2002, 23-year-old Stephanie returned home and called her long-term boyfriend, Walter. The couple were planning to take the next step in their relationship and move in together. Before saying goodnight, Stephanie told Walter she would fax him an apartment application first thing in the morning, but he never heard from her again.