Cold case: Portland teen was in the wrong place at the wrong tim - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold case: Portland teen was in the wrong place at the wrong time

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Life meant a lot to Jacquelene Marcell.

The 19-year-old was outgoing, compassionate and determined.

She graduated from high school after having a baby and planned to study forensics, with the hope of becoming a probation officer.

“She had goals, she had plans,” said Lori Pingle, her mother. “I knew she was going to be successful in life.”

But Marcell never got to provide the future she planned to give her son.

On October 3, 2004, Marcell was shot in the head while driving a car in North Portland.

She later died at a hospital, the day before she was set to start college.

Detectives do not think she was the intended target.

Marcell was driving a white 1997 Dodge Intrepid south on North Michigan, near North Skidmore, around 12:45 a.m.

Someone opened fire on the car, striking it multiple times.

After Marcell was hit, her friend grabbed the wheel from the passenger seat and steered the car to a stop.

“I wonder if it wasn't a case of mistaken identity,” said Det. Meredith Hopper. “Maybe someone else driving a car similar to that maybe was involved in gang activity. I don't know. But the people who were at the scene, they know what happened. And they're not saying.”

Hopper said Portland police officers stopped a group of men at the crime scene. They were all gang associates who have never cooperated with officers, she said.

“The key to all of this is the people that were there,” said Hopper. “Like I said, they were either involved in the shooting or they were the targets of the shooting. That's what I believe.”

More than 10 years later, Marcell's family still struggles with losing her.

“It's like a big piece of us is missing and it can't be replaced,” said Pingle.

Her son hurts the most.

He was just six months old when his mother was killed and growing up without her becomes tougher as he grows older.

“That's a major missing link for him,” said Lashaunda Jackson, Marcell's aunt. “And it's hard. It's hard, it's very hard.”

Family members keep Marcell's pictures up and tell her son positive stories about her.

Jackson named her adult care center after her niece, just one of her efforts to keep Marcell's memory alive.

They hope that people can find it in their hearts to give them closure by providing information to detectives.

“Whoever is responsible for this incident that took my niece away from us, from all of us, you are forgiven,” said Jackson. “But you need to be held accountable for your actions.”

“Because if it was their family, that's why they would expect,” said Pingle. “If you have empathy and love and compassion in your heart, that's what you'll do.”

If you have any information about this crime, contact Hopper at (503) 823-0266 or

You can also leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.

Visit to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.

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