Cold Case on

Hunt for North Providence mom’s killer still on after 12 years


NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Jaclyn McKenna glows when she’s asked about her mother Cynthia.

“She was amazing,” McKenna said. “She was a great mother.”

Jaclyn grew up the middle of three sisters in North Providence. She says her mom was always considerate, no matter the day or holiday.

“I don’t know anybody who would send a card for Groundhog Day, but she did,” she added.

Twelve years ago this week, Cynthia was killed. She was last seen on Feb. 18, 2007, arguing with a man in a silver pickup truck outside her Waterman Avenue apartment. 

On Feb. 21, she was found dead inside her home.

“Cause of death was determined to asphyxiation,” Detective Matthew Phelan said.

Phelan says since he’s been assigned the case, he’s tracked down different leads trying to find Cynthia’s killer.

“There are new avenues in which we have taken in this case and I am very optimistic on where those avenues will lead us,” he said.

The investigation was added to a list of 51 other cases in Rhode Island. Detectives created a deck of Cold Case playing cards to generate public interest and hopefully bring in more tips on cases running out of leads. Cynthia is the 5 of clubs.

“It doesn’t feel like 12 years,” Jaclyn said. “I keep thinking it’s going to happen. I’m going to wake up and it’s going to be a dream and we’ll have an answer. Here we are. Twelve years.”

“Someone knows something and they’re just not saying it,” she added. “Maybe 12 years later they’re ready to come forward.”

Phelan wants you to either call police at (401) 231-4533 ext. 141 or 1-877-RI-SOLVE if you have any information.

“The biggest thing we are trying to do for Jaclyn and her family is give her answers that they don’t have right now,” Phelan said.

That’s welcome news to Jaclyn as they try to put the pieces together.

“No one deserves to have their life taken from them,” she said. “We just want to know why.”

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If you have any info about this or any cold case, please call:

1-877-RI-SOLVE | 1-877-747-6583

RI DOC Inmates call *9083


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