NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Firefighters rushed into a burning basement apartment in North Providence on Jan. 19, 2000.
They quickly put out the flames but were taken aback by what they saw inside.
There was blood everywhere.
A body was found in the tub. It had been set on fire.
“One of the worst ones I’ve ever seen,” North Providence Police Lt. Thomas Jones said.
Kimberly Morse was dead.
Her life was cut short just as she started down a new path. Jones said while Morse was working at the Foxy Lady in Providence, she was taking classes in cosmetology.
“Everyone that knew her or had the opportunity to say something about her said what a good person she was,” Jones added.
On Jan. 19, Morse pulled into the apartment parking lot late at night after work. She found her door was open, according to Jones, and as she walked into the apartment she was immediately attacked by someone waiting for her.
“Physical evidence and autopsy results show she was stabbed from behind,” Jones said. “Her throat was slit.”
That lead investigators to believe whoever was waiting inside had a key to the apartment because there was no sign of forced entry.
“It was personal,” Jones said. “Her body was then dragged to the bathroom and placed inside the bathtub. Her clothes were taken off of her and she was then set on fire.”
He said in the days that followed, police narrowed the suspect list down to 30 people.
“Some people were paying her bills,” Jones recalled. “Some people were sending her on vacation.”
The case went cold. Investigators eventually turned to the FBI to speak with a profiler, which helped narrow down the type of person that may have killed Morse.
Then, in 2014, there was a potential break in the case. Jones said they received an anonymous email with information.
“It led us to Michigan and I worked with the Michigan State Police following up those leads,” he said.
It didn’t lead to an arrest but it did allow Jones to rule out a few names. In hopes of bringing in new tips, he added the investigation to a deck of cold case playing cards. Each card in the deck highlights an unsolved homicide or missing person investigation in Rhode Island.
Kimberly Morse is the 7 of clubs.
Technology is on Jones’ side as well. Detectives have the DNA of the person they believe killed Morse. There hasn’t been a match yet.
“Whoever did it has got to be shaking in their shoes because of all the proactive police work being done today with all the technology we’re using,” Jones said. “It’s only a matter of time before we come knocking.”
“So when you think you got away with it—think again,” he added.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.