Community still awaiting justice one year after NKY murder

FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - Members of one Northern Kentucky community are still awaiting justice after the murder of a local couple one year ago. Tuesday members of Union Baptist Church held a private vigil to honor the victims.

Bill and Peggy Stephenson, both 74 years old, were killed inside their Florence home over Memorial Day weekend in 2011. To date, no arrests have been made in the case.

Bill was a deacon at Union Baptist Church and his wife an organist for the congregation. Bill was known in the community for his work with the Trucker's Chapel ministry off Highway 75.

It has been a year of grieving for close friends like Mary Belle Noe who watched Peggy Stephenson grow up, sat by her in church, and considered her like a daughter.

"It seemed impossible that it had been a year," Noe said Tuesday. "There isn't a day that I haven't thought of her."

Noe has seen a lot in her 96 years of life, but says nothing could prepare her for the death of her dear friend Peggy Stephenson.

"It's just something you can't get used to, that someone you loved was murdered," she said.

Noe has now watched the clock tick through 365 days since the murder without an arrest.

"The sooner now they come to a head the better I'll feel I think and I think the family will too," Noe said.

The entire community is looking for closure.

"There's just a lot of confusion and nobody can get answers, nobody can get answers," community member Clay Bidleman said.

Bill and Peggy's old school pictures still hang on the wall for a gas station across the street from the church.

"I don't think we'll ever really forget," Bidleman said. "[Bill] left a good impression on everybody."

"I think the biggest way to remember them is to continue to do the work that they started," Union Baptist associate pastor Arnie Forman said.

At Union Baptist Church they feel the loss of the Stephensons every Sunday.

"The organ has in many ways stayed empty since [Peggy's] been gone," Forman said.

The church family has now sat through 52 services without the beloved couple.

"When it concerns life and those who you love it's really difficult to wait for answers," Forman admitted.

Forman says they have been looking up for answers in faith since looking out still brings so many questions.

"I miss looking out on a Sunday and seeing their beautiful faces an singing those songs," Forman said.

He says the faith community is still hurting, and grieving a year after the horrific event.

"When somebody makes such an impact on your life it's like yesterday," he said.

Forman spoke on behalf of the Stephenson family who did not want to go on camera saying they thank the community for their prayers and support.

"They just pray that in the days ahead, and sooner than later, they'll get some answers," Forman added.

In January, the children of Bill and Peggy Stephenson announced a $5,000 reward to the public to provide information on the case.

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