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Murder At Downriver Cash Advance Store Remains Unsolved One Year Later

Chelsea Small is seen in a photo displayed as a Crime Stoppers news conference. (credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ)

TAYLOR (WWJ/AP) - Police are still searching for the man who gunned down a young mother at a Downriver cash advance shop one year ago.

Chelsea Small's family and police are hoping to draw more attention to the case, with Wednesday marking the anniversary of the 30-year-old's death. More than $37,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of her killer.

"In the beginning, we had thousands and thousands of tips," Debi Kamin, Small's mother, told WWJ. "We want to keep so many people thinking and keep them on their toes."

Small's family is planning a candlelit vigil at the Advance America Cash Advance store on Telegraph, where the crime took place, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to focus on the case, which remains unsolved.

"We've had several leads over the past year but nothing that has necessarily panned out and we're hoping that maybe some renewed interest will lead to that," said Taylor Police Chief Mary Sclabassi.

Officers found Small's body on Nov. 12, 2013 while responding to a holdup alarm at the store. Police say Small was shot multiple times. Robbery appears to be the motive, police said, as cash was missing from the store.

Small, who had only worked at the store for a few months, was the only employee working at the time. The store had a security entrance that customers have to buzzed-in through, but police aren't sure if Small knew her killer.

Security cameras show a white male suspect inside the store, but police said the tape doesn't show enough detail. They believe the man is about 35- to 50-years-old with a stocky build and dark, bushy hair. At the time of the crime, he was wearing a blue jacket, white shirt, black pants, tan shoes and a baseball cap. He is believed to have a "good deal of experience" with firearms, police said.

taylor shooting suspect2
Taylor police are looking to identify this man who is suspected in the fatal shooting of a clerk at a cash advance store.

Kamin said one of the hardest things about Small's death is how it has impacted the lives of her two children, who now have to grow up without their mother.

"They are experiencing a lot of loss. Of course, they miss her and not completely comprehending why, at their young age, why something like this had to happen," she said.

Advance America is offering $35,000 for information in the case, and Crime Stoppers of Michigan is offering an additional $2,500.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call police at 734-287-6611. Tips can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP, online at, or by texting "CSM" and your tip to CRIMES (274637).

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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