SILENT WITNESS

Young mother’s 1991 murder in Phoenix remains unsolved

Jun 12, 2023, 1:00 PM

The scene of Nicole Aguilera's murder. (Silent Witness Photo)

(Silent Witness Photo)

This article originally appeared Aug. 17, 2015.

This especially brutal murder has baffled Phoenix Police investigators for more than two decades.

Detective Dominick Roestenberg, with Phoenix’s Cold Case Unit, badly wants to find the killer of Nicole Aguilera, an 18-year-old mother of two.

“It’s frustrated us in the fact that, 24 years later, we still haven’t been able to come up with any viable leads,” he said.

Aguilera had a 3-year- old and a 5-month-old and was trying her best to make it on her own. She was living in an apartment by herself near Third Avenue and Buckeye Road. On Jan. 17, 1991, a friend came by to check on Aguilera after she was unable to contact her. When Aguilera didn’t answer the door, the friend called police.

“Once inside, they found a very horrific, brutal murder inside and it looked like a struggle had taken place,” Roestenberg said.

Then, the officers heard a baby crying. They found Aguilera’s infant daughter in a bedroom, unharmed. The 3-year-old had been at a relative’s house.

“We believe [Aguilera] knew her attacker or attackers, if more than one person was involved,” Roestenberg said. “There was no forced entry and no items appeared stolen.”

He said it was common knowledge that Aguilera kept her doors locked but the back door was found unlocked and slightly ajar. The front door was found deadbolted.

Investigators have exhausted all leads in Aguilera’s murder, but, evidence from the scene has been saved.

It’s hoped with today’s technological advancements in forensic sciences, investigators will finally get they break they need.

Read more about the case here.

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Young mother’s 1991 murder in Phoenix remains unsolved