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The mystery of Jonathan O'Shaughnessy's murder in Richfield

Police have no motive and no suspects in Jonathan O'Shaughnessy's unsolved murder. What they do have, Jonathan's mother isn't allowed to know.

Police have no motive and no suspects in Jonathan O'Shaughnessy's unsolved murder. What they do have, Jonathan's mother isn't allowed to know. Survivors Lead

Each year on the 3rd of July, Richfield throws the Great Richfield Street Dance, a music festival crammed with beer and carnival food.

Jonathan O'Shaughnessy attended with his family in 2017. He was a 24-year-year kid who'd just gotten an apartment in Minneapolis, where he lived alone, trying out various jobs in trucking and construction to find his place in life.

As they walked home from the dance, a minivan drove past near the corner of Fourth Avenue South and East 64th Street, made a U-turn, and pulled curbside. The door slid open.

The driver called out," We're going to kill you," says Jonathan's mother, Cynthia Kuntz.

Shots popped off. Jonathan collapsed. The van took off.

There's a traffic camera on the corner where the shooting happened, but it's only used for triggering light changes and doesn't record. A couple of bicyclists rode past without stopping as the family cried out for help. At about a quarter after 11 p.m., the street was empty. No one else seemed to witness the shooting.

More than a year after Jonathan's death, his family has no answers. Jonathan's was Richfield's first murder in more than a decade. Despite a $25,000 reward for information, police don't have any suspects. Nor will they talk about leads, afraid partial information will taint eyewitness testimony if a trial ever comes.

"It appears to be just a random attack, but I don’t know," says Police Chief Jay Henthorne. "We haven’t had anything that’s been similar to that since that homicide.... But until we find who the suspects are and do some interviews and things, we won’t know what their motive is."

That leaves the family in the dark.

Not knowing where Richfield police have canvassed, which cameras they've checked, or whether DNA testing has been done, Kuntz has taken it on herself to double track the police investigation.

She's doorknocked in the neighborhood, trying to find out what people may have heard or seen. She's papered telephone poles with pleas for information, replenishing flyers each time the rain washes them away. Whenever a light-colored minivan flashes past and makes the hair on the back of her neck stand up, she notes the license plate and offers it to investigators. She has consulted psychics and mediums.

In September, Rachael Joseph of Survivors Lead, an organization that advocates for victims of gun violence, asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to step in with fresh eyes.

According to Chief Henthorne, the BCA agreed to review Richfield's investigation so far. 

Meanwhile, Kuntz is doing all she can to keep her son's memory alive by giving back to the city where he grew up.

Nearly every month, she has something planned: CPR training at the fire department, back-to-school backpack donations, Red Cross blood drives, highway cleaning, and potlucks. She collected 850 pounds of food for Richfield High School's food shelf. Next month, she's getting supplies for a local animal shelter.

This is all she thinks about, day and night.

"How do you grieve when you don't know who did it?" Kuntz asks. "The pain is indescribable. You can't breathe. You just scream inside that you want answers, and they don't come."

To visit the Justice for Jonathan O'Shaughnessy Facebook page, click here