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Who killed much-loved Arkansas anchorwoman?

Little Rock police have not identified a suspect in the brutal murder of popular young TV news anchor Anne Pressly. “There’s a palpable fear among young women in the area, so it’s important that we bring him to justice,” Pressly’s father said.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Little Rock police have not identified a suspect in the brutal murder of popular young television news anchor Anne Pressly, nor have they released much information about what they do know about the crime that has shocked the Arkansas capital.

“The fact that this was such a heinous and brutal crime has certainly captured the attention of everyone here, and there’s a palpable fear among young women in the Little Rock area, because this character is still out on the street,” Pressly’s father, Guy Cannady, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer from Little Rock Wednesday. “So it’s important that we find him and bring him to justice.”

Saying littlePolice have said that the crime appears to be a random robbery rather than the act of someone who had stalked Pressly, a bright and rising talent at ABC affiliate KATV. They have recovered DNA evidence from the white bungalow near a country club where the 26-year-old woman was found savagely beaten in her bed early in the morning of Monday, Oct. 20.

They also know that Pressly’s credit card was used to buy gasoline at a nearby gas station after she was attacked, but images from security cameras at the station were too blurry to identify a suspect. Beyond that, they’re saying little.

“At this point in any investigation, any information about what we may speculate or what we may believe or leads we may be pursuing at this point, we’d rather not discuss,” Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas told NBC News.

Pressly was found by her mother, who drove to the anchorwoman’s home when she didn’t answer her customary wake-up call. Pressly clung to life for days, but, after showing signs of improvement, took a turn for the worse and died Saturday.

On Monday, friends, family and even people who had never met her turned out for a private memorial service at a local church. A public memorial was planned for Thursday.

A bright sparkEverybody talked about Pressly as someone who lit up a room when she entered it and was interested in everyone she met.

“She was someone who had a spark about her, a vibrancy,” Cannady told Lauer. “It didn’t matter if you were a person on the street or the president: You got the same attention, the same care, the same concern from her. She was just an incredible personality and an incredible person; that shone through in her everyday life, both personally and professionally.”

Pressly had known that she wanted to be a television journalist from her teen years. Her father talked about her passion and dedication to her job at KATV, where she started working while still in college.

“From an intern, she worked at KATV for four years,” Cannady said. “In fact, when she’d come home from college, she would stop at KATV before she got home just to check in and see what she could do to help or work a little bit during every spring break or every summer. She was engaged in her profession.

“She had a passion for the profession, and we’re extremely proud of her.”

Pressly’s legacy
Cannady said that he and Pressly’s mother glowed with pride when they saw her on television, working her way up from intern to reporter to news anchor on the station’s morning show. She had even auditioned for and landed a small role as a reporter modeled after conservative pundit Ann Coulter in Oliver Stone’s recently released movie “W.”

Cannady said his daughter never expressed any fears about obsessed fans or stalkers. “That’s one of the things that has obviously concerned everyone here,” Cannady said. “There was never an indication of a stalker or anyone who had targeted her for any reason at all.”

To carry on her memory, Pressly’s parents are establishing a foundation in her name.

“We’ve asked, in lieu of flowers, that people would donate to the Anne Pressly Scholarship Foundation,” Cannady said. “In her name we’re going to carry forth that legacy and put together a foundation that will help and support others who have that same drive and ambition as they begin their career in college.”