Overview of Hannah Truelove
"We're confident we know who is responsible for her death," Franklin said. "We've had a suspect since the beginning," he told The Times. "Our issue is that we have a lack of evidence to tie that person to the crime. ... It's not to say that we have zero evidence, but we just didn't have enough."
Hannah Ozburn Truelove, born on May 18, 1996, was the daughter of Jeff and Mona Truelove. She had two siblings and primarily lived with her mother following her parents' separation when she was seven. In May 2012, Hannah, who was 16 years old, moved with her mother to the Lake Lanier Club Apartments, a gated complex near Lake Lanier in Georgia.
Hannah attended Gainesville High School, where she was known as a sweet and respectful young lady with a gentle spirit. She had dreams of becoming a veterinarian, loved animals, and had aspirations to become a model. At 16, she was already nearly six feet tall. She also enjoyed gymnastics, music, and singing.
On August 20, 2012, Jeff gave Hannah $300 for back-to-school shopping. After a day of shopping and dinner, he dropped her off at her mother's apartment around 7:00 pm, not knowing it would be the last time he saw his daughter.
The Day Hannah went missing
On August 23, 2012, after a regular day at school, Hannah was last seen around 7:30 pm at the picnic tables near her apartment complex. When she failed to return home that night, her mother, Mona, reported her missing at 10:15 pm. On August 24th, Hannah's body was found in a secluded area near the apartments, having been brutally stabbed multiple times.
The investigation into Hannah's murder was challenging due to heavy rain washing away much of the potential evidence. Despite interviewing friends and family and searching for a specific silver car seen near the crime scene, authorities found no significant leads.
Investigators explored the possibility of Hannah having a stalker based on her tweets, but ultimately concluded they were "teenage drama type of stuff." The case eventually slowed down, with the flow of information coming to a halt.
Cold Case Continues to Puzzle Investigators
In February 2015, Investigator Franklin held a press conference to update the public on the status of the case, stating that multiple persons of interest had been investigated and subsequently cleared after undergoing polygraph tests. The search for the elusive silver vehicle continued. By 2016, advances in technology had enabled investigators to re-examine all existing evidence.
Lead Investigator Franklin informed WSBTV, "We've had several persons of interest that we've talked to that remain persons of interest... What we're looking for is someone on the fringe, someone with knowledge that has a piece of information that'll open the door to these people that we've already looked at but aren't ready to discount yet." Franklin expressed his personal commitment to solving the case and emphasized the emotional connection he felt due to his own teenage daughter.
In August 2018, despite his promotion to lieutenant, Franklin requested to remain the lead investigator on Hannah's case. He keeps her Nintendo DS nearby as a constant reminder of the unsolved mystery. Franklin posits that Hannah knew her killer and that she willingly went to the location where she was murdered. He also believes that there may have been more than one person present during the crime and hopes to reach out to those who were potentially less culpable.
A Decade Later: The Case Remains Unsolved
Tragically, Mona passed away in August 2022, just a few weeks before the 10-year anniversary of Hannah's murder. Investigator Dan Franklin told the Gainesville Times that although they have a suspect, there isn't enough evidence to secure a conviction. He revealed that the suspect is a male acquaintance of Hannah who has consistently denied any involvement in her murder.
Franklin believes the case will only be solved if someone comes forward with new information, the killer confesses, or there's a breakthrough in DNA technology. Both Franklin and Hannah's father, Jeff, hope that someone will eventually come forward to help bring closure to the case.
Anyone with information about the case or the silver vehicle in question is urged to contact the Hall County tip line at 770-503-3232 or the GBI tip line at 800-597-8477.