17-year-old girl stabbed to death; case remains unsolved nearly 34 years later

Project Cold Case: Leslie McCray

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Joey Bray reminisced over photos of herself with her cousin, Leslie McCray, who was more like her sister.

“I'm assuming this was at Disney World,” she said while looking at a photo of McCray with one of "Sleeping Beauty’s" fairy godmothers.

TRENDING: 

Content Continues Below

“She was fun loving, sweet, had the sweetest heart and loved everybody,” said Bray.

The pictures are all she has now.

For Bray, it's like time stood still after Dec. 24, 1985.

“It was Christmas Eve,” said Bray. “It all becomes a blur after that.”

LISTEN TO THE ACTION NEWS JAX PROJECT: COLD CASE PODCAST: 

The 17-year-old's body was found on the side of the road off of Old Middleburg Road and Wiley not far from I-295 on Jacksonville's Westside.

Her body had been mutilated by stab wounds to her neck.

Bray was 13 years old at the time, but has vivid memories.

Download WJAX Apps

“Whenever we bought the clothes to bury her, we had to get something that would cover that up,” she said, pointing to her neck.

Action News Jax contacted the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for an interview about the case, but spokesperson Chris Hancock sent us this email, saying:

"The investigations unit has just transitioned into a new administration and they are reviewing all aspects of the day to day operations and work flow.  As such, these interviews have been suspended at this time, and we are going to respectfully decline the interview."

McCray's mom was in the room when we spoke with Bray but because of ALS, she was only able to communicate by writing notes.

The family believes they know who is responsible for McCray’s death.

Action News Jax is choosing not to name that person or identify them in any way because they haven't been charged with a crime --but Bray said she's convinced.

“How do you take somebody's life and just keep living like you didn't do anything wrong? I don't understand that,” said Bray.

Bray believes their only hope now is for someone to speak up.

“Why is it still open after 34 years? You know, why haven't we brought somebody to justice?” said Bray.

McCray was buried in Perry, Florida, where most of her family is from.

She lies next to an empty plot reserved for her mother so that when the time comes, they'll finally be reunited.