Columbus police plead for tips in ’17 murder: ‘The world doesn’t get changed by cowards’

A donation from Synovus has allowed Columbus police to up the cash reward for information in the January 2017 death of Destiny Nelson.

Nelson, 17, was shot at 10:30 p.m. Jan. 16, 2017 at Bull Creek Apartments in what police have called “a botched gang retaliation” for the shooting death of Dominique Horton.

Nelson was shot at least 14 times after answering the door of her family’s apartment. She was transported to the Midtown Medical Center emergency room, where she died.

According to police, investigators learned Nelson was an exceptional student and was well-liked by teachers and peers. She was dual-enrolled at Early College Academy and Columbus State University.

An email from Lt. Greg Touchberry with the Columbus Police Department’s homicide unit on Friday said that detectives working the case “have been running into the same tired issues of ‘gang involvement’ and the street policy of ‘no snitching.’”

He said the frustration is that good people are refusing to get involved even though they could provide information that would break the case wide open.

“The hardest thing is nowadays is to get people to feel like murder is important,” Touchberry told the Ledger-Enquirer. “If nothing else, tell the world that you care about the girl who didn’t bother a soul getting murdered. The world doesn’t get changed by cowards.”

Those who don’t get involved are letting murderers go free, he said.

“What’s unique is there are lots of people that we have talked to and firmly believe know probably exactly who did it, and they just don’t want to officially get involved,” Touchberry said. “If people would have gotten involved two years ago, there would already be arrests.”

The reward for information has increased to $15,000. Anyone with information is asked to call Cpl. Matt Sitler at 706-225-4367 or email

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Allie Dean is the Columbus city government and accountability reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer, and also writes about new restaurants, developments and issues important to readers in the Chattahoochee Valley. She’s a graduate of the University of Georgia.