Twenty-five years ago Wednesday, young mom Tina Heins and her unborn child were stabbed to death in their Atlantic Beach apartment.
Tina was 20 years old.
The Wisconsin native moved to Jacksonville in the 90s along with her husband, Jeremy, who was in the Navy.
In 1994, two were about to become parents for the first time.
It was supposed to be a happy time, but it quickly turned to tragedy April 17 when Tina’s badly wounded body was found at the Heron Pointe Apartments where she lived with her husband and brother-in-law, Chad Heins.
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Ryan Backmann, the founder of Project: Cold Case, said it’s one of the most complex cases he’s come across.
“When you’re dealing with cold cases, you typically don’t have cases where somebody has been arrested, charged, convicted, and then released 13 years later,” Backmann said.
Tina’s husband was working at Naval Station Mayport that night, but Chad Heins was in the apartment, and he claims to have slept right through the killings.
“She was stabbed 27 times in her home,” Backmann said.
Chad Heins was convicted and sentenced to prison, but in 2007, he was released after DNA evidence found someone else was inside the apartment.
That other person remains unidentified.
Over the last 25 years, Tina’s family has tried to keep her memory alive. One way they’re doing that is through the Tina Livernash Memorial Scholarship. The fund helps raise money for low-income students to attend the Catholic private school Tina once attended.
“In 2012, we had a benefit with the Knights of Columbus and that raised over $20,000,” Bill Livernash, Tina’s dad said.
Her parents said Tina loved kids and she would’ve been a great mom.
Action News Jax asked them if they believe Chad Heins is innocent.
“I really don’t know. I couldn’t answer one way or the other because I really don’t know,” said Bill Livernash.
Tina’s dad said his life has never really gotten back on track since his daughter’s murder.
He and his wife, Sue, say they just want to know what happened and why.
“We just hope that it’s in our lifetime you know, and our son’s, so that we get some peace. Because you always got that in the back of your mind,” Sue Livernash said.
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