Details of Disappearance
Slesinski was last seen in Auburn, Alabama on June 10, 2006. Her mother reported her missing five days later, after she visited Slesinski's home in the Ridgewood Village Trailer Park and realized her daughter had been gone for some time and the dog had not been fed.
When the police were called to the scene, they noted the front door to Slesinski's home looked "splintered" and there were scuff marks on the walls. There was a landline phone in the bedroom, but its cord was missing, and there were rugs missing from the kitchen. The thermostat had been also set to an unusually low temperature.
At 4:41 a.m. on June 14, Slesinski's blue 2005 Mazda Tribute with the Alabama license plate number 94B6V was found abandoned and actively burning in the roadway on DeKalb Street off Opelika Road. This location was in a cul-de-sac outside a construction site, not far from Slesinski's home. She had just purchased the vehicle a short time before. The car was later sent to a forensics lab, which found Slesinski's blood on the door.
In August 2018, Derrill Richard "Rick" Ennis was arrested in Virginia and charged with capital murder, burglary and kidnapping in Slesinski's case. A photo of him is posted with this case summary.
Investigators stated he and Slesinski were friends and she had sold Ennis a car the very day she disappeared, but that he developed an obsession with her and killed her after she rejected his advances. Ennis stated he and Slesinski had consensual sex twice and the last time he saw her, she was leaving to go meet a drug dealer.
Ennis's semen was found inside Slesinski's home and a rolled cigarettes with Ennis's DNA was found near her burned car. Police found cleaning supplies, handcuffs and a knife inside Ennis's car, and he had scratches on his arms and hands when police questioned him.
At his trial in 2022, Ennis maintained his innocence and his defense suggested someone had deliberately planted his DNA at the scene of Slesinski's burned-out vehicle. He said the scratches came from his dog and the cleaning supplies were because the dog would go into heat once a month and needed to be cleaned up afterwards. In fact, dogs typically go into heat only twice a year.
Ennis had moved to South Carolina after Slesinski's disappearance. A former coworker of his from South Carolina testified at the murder trial, saying he had asked Ennis why he left Auburn, and Ennis told him he had gotten into some trouble and needed to get out of town. Ennis reportedly told the coworker he had been talking to a woman, but she only wanted to be friends. The coworker stated Ennis indicated he had strangled the woman, whom he described as "a white piece of trailer park trash."
He was convicted of all charges, including capital murder during a kidnapping and capital murder during a burglary, after two days of jury deliberations. Although he had been facing the death penalty, at the request of Slesinski's mother the judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole.
This was not the first murder Ennis had committed: in 1993, at the age of twelve, he shot his mother and stepfather to death. At the time he said he did this because he was angry that the planned to move; later, he claimed the real motive was that he was sexually abused by his mother. Ennis served nine years in juvenile detention for the double homicide and was released from custody after turnining 21.
Slesinski graduated from Auburn University in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and criminology, and she planned to get a master's degree. At the time of her disappearance, she was employed at the East Alabama Mental Health Center. One of her friends stated she was unhappy with her job and salary at the time of her disappearance.
She maintained close contact with her family and friends prior to her disappearance, but none of them have heard from her since she went missing. She left behind her puppy, which is uncharacteristic of her. Her hobbies include walking, bicycle riding and other sports, movies and video games. Since her disappearance, her brother and her father had both died, but her mother is still alive.
Her body has never been found, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.