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Keeping the case from going cold: Maryland State Police search for woman's killer

Posted: 10:27 AM, Jul 01, 2024
Updated: 2024-07-12 15:12:25-04
Nyah Hairston.jpeg

Nyah Strong Hairston was working at UPS for less than a year, when her commute home turned deadly.

On Friday, May 3rd, she got off from work at around 10 p.m. and checked in with her mom, let her know that she'd be stopping at a friends house for 10 minutes and then make her way home.

Hairston lived with her mom, and her other job, as a hairstylist, was based at the house.

"Her mom moved the dining room set to storage," said Hairston's great aunt Florence James, to set up a salon there.

When Hairston didn't arrive home by 11 p.m. that Friday, her mom started to get worried.

Less than 10 minutes from the house, police were already at the scene off of I-495 in Prince George's County.

Nyah Hairston's gray Nissan Versa had gone off the road after she had been shot.

MSP - Nyah Hairston Car.jpeg
Nyah Hairston's vehicle in MSP custody.

She later died of her injuries. She was just 20 years old.

Her great-aunt described her as shy. It would take a little while to get her out of her shell.

"Nyah was a shy kid growing up, but she was just as sweet as she could be, just a sweet person," says James. "She was a kind soul."

Nyah Hairston School age.jpeg
Nyah Hairston at school

She spoke to the media, a little over a month after Hairston's murder, trying to keep the investigation alive.

"It's still so surreal, that you just can't believe something like that happened to our Nyah," she said.

Florence James speaks to media about great-neice Nyah Hairston
Florence James speaks to media about great-neice Nyah Hairston.

James also had a message for the person who committed this crime.

"You hurt our family. You devastated our family.. Nyah was just coming home from work, just driving in her car," she says, adding that anyone who knows anything should speak up. "I'm asking you to be a stand-up person and come out and say what you know, or what you've heard or what you saw."

Police want to keep the case from going cold too.

"These cases are very difficult to solve," says Lt. Kyle Clark, the Commander of the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit.

Lt. Kyle Clark
Lt. Kyle Clark, Commander of the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, speaks to media about the Nyah Hariston case

He says that at this point, they believe this to have been random, rather than a targeted shooting.

"With the community's help, of course, these cases can be a little easier to solve," he says.

Police announced earlier this month a $20,000 reward for any information on Hairston's death.

While this kind of case is difficult to solve, the Homicide unit is still going through evidence. They're looking through camera footage and waiting on ballistics evidence.

But, the murder happened late at night, on a heavily trafficked road, and when there was a misty rain.

Clark says that if you saw anything on the night of Friday, May 3rd on I-495 N near Landover Rd, to please contact them.

Nyah Hairston 3.jpeg

This is not the only open investigation into a fatal shooting on a Maryland highway.

On March 19 of 2022, Delonte Hicks of Washington D.C. was killed in a road rage incident, on eastbound Route 50 in Prince George's County.

On January 30, 2022, Charles Harrison Marks, IV was killed in Elkridge on northbound I-95.

In Focus: The unsolved murder of Nyah Hairston

There is a reward of up to $20,000 being offered for information in this case.

If you have information to help detectives solve the murder of Nyah Hairston, please call Maryland State Police at 443-829-9227.