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Stephanie Hart-Grizzell

High school sweethearts are found murdered on Valentine's Day

  • Last updated: February 20, 2024
  • Littleton, CO
  • February 14, 2000

Overview of Stephanie Hart-Grizzell

Just ten months after the Columbine High School shooting, Littleton, Colorado experienced another tragedy. A high school couple was shot and killed at a local Subway.

A cold case detective working on the case says the murders after such a horrible tragedy were “salt in a wound.”

Stephanie Lynn Hart-Grizzel was a 16-year-old who wanted nothing more than to run away with her boyfriend and live in a tepee. Stephanie’s mother, Kelly Grizzel, said that the young couple were teenage sweethearts who were truly thrilled with living life together.

2000 Yearbook Photo

Kelly said her daughter was “spiritual” and that she had wild plans to live in the woods and survive by being an artist, painting, and making jewelry.

Nicholas “Nick” Ray Kunselman, 15, was along for the ride, loving music and playing guitar. He was sporty, and loved his family. Nick was the 1999 Colorado State Jr. Disc Golf Champion.

The pair met in middle school and became fast friends. It wasn’t until they started at Columbine High School that their friendship blossomed into something more romantic.

In 1999, tragedy struck.

Fellow Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked onto their campus dressed in trench coats, armed with a TEC-9 and a shotgun. They killed 13 people and injured 24 before taking their own lives.

The community was heartbroken at the trauma they’ve endured, and Kelly said she saw her daughter and Nick lean on each other even more.

10 months later, on Sunday, February 13, 2000, that heartbreak would get too close to home.

‘Goodnight. I love you.’

Kelly remembers that the night she last saw Stephanie, she was doing her homework and getting ready for the next day. She said “Goodnight. I love you.” to her daughter, and headed up to sleep.

That night, Stephanie took her car and drove over to the Subway sandwich shop in Littleton where Nick was working a night shift. At some point, Stephanie and Nick were in the shop alone, when one gunman or multiple gunmen came in and killed the pair.

Around 1:00 am, a Subway coworker driving near the sandwich shop noticed that the lights were still on, which they thought was odd. They also noticed that there was an unknown man slipping out the back door.

The unknown man was described as a white male, 16 to 20 years old, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-8 inches tall, weighing 150 to 170 pounds, clean shaven, with blondish hair. He was wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes, a black ball cap and a black coat with a red lining or a red shirt.

The coworker went into the Subway to check out why the lights were still on, and discovered Stephanie and Nick’s bodies shot to death behind the counter.

The Investigation

The description of the unknown male seen leaving the Subway turned up hundreds of leads — and even a few confessions — but nothing was concretely connected to the case.

There were also suspicions that a drug ring was operating out of the sandwich store, resulting in Stephanie and Nick’s untimely deaths.

Elias Alberti, a cold case detective with the Sheriff’s Office says there weren’t many people around the area at the time the murders occurred so there haven’t been many leads — even the small amount of DNA evidence at the scene hasn’t turned up any new suspects.

“This case has been submitted to DNA and to the lab multiple different times, to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations,” Alberti told Denver7. “We’ve done fingerprints, all the standard stuff that we do investigating a crime, and we’ve got nothing off those.”

In the meantime, Kelly and Nick’s families get together each Valentine’s Day to visit the top of the mountain where the pair are buried together.

“We bring flowers and our biggest thing is throwing Frisbees off the side of the mountain,” Kelly told Denver7.

Anyone who may have information regarding Stephanie Grizzell or Nick Kunselman’s murders is asked to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 303-271-5606 or Colorado Bureau of Investigation at 303-239-4300.


  1. Date of Death:February 14, 2000
  2. Birthday:October 28, 1983
  3. Age at Incident:16
  4. Race:Caucasian / White
  5. Gender:Female


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