Remembering Holly Cassano: Seven years later

Cassano case

Update: 12:00 am, 11/3/16, Thursday 

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY — Friends and family members of Holly Cassano gathered to honor her memory Wednesday night. It’s been seven years since she was murdered in her Mahomet home. 

The killer has still not been caught. Those close to her want to make sure no one forgets that.

Holly’s urn hasn’t made a public appearance since the first anniversary of her death. Her mother, Toni, says those events are starting to add up. Something you only see on TV once a year, she lives every single moment.

“The media covers it when there’s an event. I talk about it every day. I wear my “Hope for Holly” shirts and hope someone will stop and ask, ‘Oh, how did you know her?’ and then, I’d be able to tell her story in hopes that someone will tell someone else. I hope that, when November first comes around, it’s not , ‘Oh, it’s this story again,’ it’s ‘We’re going to talk about it, but I remember talking about it last month.'”

Toni decided a candlelight vigil was the best way to make sure the conversation continues, but not amount of lit candles could bright the darkness in her loved ones’ hearts, and, no gathering of small fires could ever equal their passion for finding her killer.

“I have mixed feelings. I’m kind of sad because it’s been seven years. I’m kind of excited to see her friends come out and light a candle and tell her that they love her.”

Investigators say Cassano’s case is far from cold. Seven years later, they’re still getting tips. Something you know about the case could be the missing piece investigators need. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward. 

(217) 373 – TIPS 
Text: CCTip + info to CRIMES (274637) 
Original: Monday, 11/01/16, 10:31 am

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY — Nearly seven years after Holly Cassano was murdered, her mother says the grief hasn’t changed.

The 20-year old was stabbed more than 60-times in a Mahomet trailer. Wednesday is the seventh anniversary of her death and the murderer has not been brought to justice.

Police say it’s still very much an open investigation and they continue getting tips about the case. They are asking for any bit of information they can get.

The Champaign  County Sheriff’s Office and Cassano’s mother wait anxiously for closure. Toni Cassano knows she’ll never get over losing her daughter.

“This is my new normal.”

Just short of seven years after her daughter’s murder, she keeps her phone close by, hoping someday she’ll know who did it and why.

“I’ve learned to deal with it and cope with it, with the expectation that my phone is going to ring any second now and it’ll be Lt. Apperson calling me saying, ‘We caught him. We know who it is.'”

Even with the number of calls they get every day, investigators are also waiting on the one which will answer those questions.

“It’s certainly something that’s always on their mind as they’re listening for information or calls to come in to see how we might find something of importance.”

Deputy Chief Allen Jones says it’s not uncommon to get calls about the case.

“We actually received a tip today on the case. We’re anxious, both for the family as well as to bring some justice to this case, and any tips that we get, kind of give us an air of excitement that maybe, that’s just the one piece that we need to get over the hump.”

The case has affected more than Cassano’s loved ones and the investigators eager to close the case. You can still see her face all over Champaign County.

What gets Toni Cassano through the day is knowing the answers to her questions are out there somewhere.

“I just want the public to know the answer is still out there. Somebody still knows something and we just need that person to come forward and talk.”

Wednesday is the seventh anniversary of Holly’s tragic death. Her family is hosting a candlelight vigil outside the Champaign County Courthouse at 6 pm.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.