Las Vegas Sun

October 18, 2019

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2 years later, mother presses for break in case of daughter’s slaying

Police Seeking Help With Cold Case

Steve Marcus

Connie Land looks toward a photo of her daughter during a cold case news conference at Metro Police Headquarters Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. Land’s daughter Sydney Land and her boyfriend Nehemiah “Neo” Kauffman were murdered in their apartment in 2016.

Police Seeking Help With Cold Case

Steve Land places a photo of his daughter Sydney Land on an easel during a news conference at Metro Police Headquarters Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. His wife Connie Land is at left. Sydney Land and her boyfriend Nehemiah Launch slideshow »

Nearly a year ago, a microphone rested in front of the grieving mother. She fixed her hand over her mouth and sobbed, desperately pleading with the community to lead detectives to Sydney Land’s killer.

Here, on the same floor of the outdoor rotunda at Metro Police headquarters — two years removed from when officers entered a southwest valley apartment and found the bodies of a young couple — Connie Land on Thursday morning stood once more.

Again, the portrait of a smiling Sydney Land — her golden hair draped over her shoulders — was displayed next to her mother, father and siblings, and once again the elder Land and a Metro homicide lieutenant stood in front of cameras, appealing to whomever knows the gunman’s identity.

People out there do, Lt. Ray Spencer said. And they should come forward. “Do the right thing, reach out to us and allow grieving families the justice that they deserve.”

Sydney Land, 21, and her boyfriend, Nehemiah Kauffman, 20, were “executed” by a gunman who’d entered their southwest valley apartment at 4550 S. Hualapai Way, south of Flamingo Road, police said. Their bodies were found hours later on Oct. 27, 2016.

“Haunted” by the case, detectives have exhausted “dozens and dozens” of leads and still have not pinpointed a suspect or motive, Spencer said.

Shane Valentine, an associate of Kauffman’s who’d allegedly made threats and shot into Kauffman’s mother house, early on became a person of interest, and remains just that, Spencer said.

Since the killings, the Land family has spoken to local and national reporters, and even placed Sydney’s portrait on electronic billboards in the Las Vegas area.

Perhaps the most striking difference from last year’s press conference in which the case was discussed was Connie Land’s semblance.

While Connie Land was passionate a year ago, her hurt was apparent through tears. Although she said the pain still lingers, her fight for justice has transformed it into an energetic aura.

“Sydney was not the intended target,” Connie Land said sternly. “But there were two kids who lost their lives horrifically and very brutally.”

“We’ve exhausted every avenue in requesting and asking people to come forward, we are doing it again,” she said clearly. “This is a very small town and the circles that (the victims) ran in are very small.”

And her efforts are not only in honor of her daughter, Connie said. She wants to protect people who may be or may become victims of those involved in the double murder.

“Any effort that we do is not going to bring her back, there’s nothing I can do, but it’s my responsibility to bring justice,” Connie Land said.

The thought of an arrest, Connie Land later said, conflicts her. It would only be another chapter in a painful and prolonged process.

In a courtroom, she would have to listen to harsh details on the death of her daughter, whose name a defense attorney might try to “slaughter,” she said. She would have to see the alleged killer’s face in court, and later in possible parole hearings.

But justice could prevent possible suffering for other families, who then wouldn’t have to receive a phone call like that from that fateful October, receiving word that a loved one was dead.

Anyone with information should contact Metro at 702-828-3521 or via email at [email protected]. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or online at crimestoppesrofnv.com.