5 years after 17-year-old Ryan Connelly was shot to death, his murder remains unsolved

A photo of Ryan Connelly is stored in his mothers curio cabinet among other mementos.

It's been five years since a Reno teen was shot and killed. Ryan Connelly's murder remains unsolved and his family continues to fight for justice.

At 17-years-old, Ryan had his whole life ahead of him. His mother, Deana Connelly said, "Ryan was going to be a Navy sniper. He was going to be everything he wanted to be and I didn't doubt it."

On July 7, 2012, Ryan was taking the same walk he'd made countless times before; but it's what happened on his way back from the Go Mart down the street that would mark the end of his life.

His mom, Deana, described the moments she learned her son was shot:

"A neighbor came running and said, 'Come quick. Ryan's hurt...' and I walked into that apartment and my son was unconscious on the floor and I tried to save him but he died in my arms. I can still hear myself screaming, 'Don't leave me!,' telling him to stay, that I needed him, but his body couldn't make it through what happened to him."

The deadly shooting even more tragic because Ryan left behind a three-week-old baby girl. "She never will know his voice. She'll never know playing with him. He would have been amazing."

Investigators looking into his murder never found a blood trail or any bullet casings. They haven't been able to pinpoint exactly where the shooting happened and they've never gathered enough evidence to make an arrest in Ryan's case.

"And that person is still walking among us, living their life," Deana said, "as Ryan's in a box. That's all I have."

Meanwhile, his family has been waiting for answers for five years and trying to keep his memory alive.

"Ryan would stand up for me. If anything happened to his momma, are you kidding? That boy would go to the ends of the earth and that's what I gotta keep doing for him."

Although she's never lost hope. Deana said she hasn't always had the best experience with Reno police. "I was ignored for well over a year-- phone calls, texts, everything ignored."

But for the first time on this anniversary of her son's death, Deana said she feels investigators at the Reno Police Department care about Ryan's case.

"To have one person means the world to us." Ryan's mother said, "that you remember our kid. That he's somebody to you."

Now five years later, Deana remains hopeful. She believes someone saw something the night Ryan was murdered that could lead to an arrest.

"You could be that one person that could solve Ryan's case for his baby, for me, his brother, his sisters."

Deana said she will keep fighting until her son's killer is brought to justice. "Somebody is missing this summer. He's not at summer camp for football. Somebody is missing their child."

Anyone who feels they might know anything about what happened the night Ryan Connelly was murdered can give an anonymous tip to Secret Witness by calling (775) 322-4900 or texting the keyword: SW to 847-411. You can also report a tip online by clicking HERE. Investigators say even the smallest detail could help crack this case.

Ryan's family has planned a candlelight vigil in his honor on Saturday night. It's happening at 8:00 at the Butterfly Garden at Sparks Marina.

Attendees are asked to bring a blue balloon and a candle to light. The ceremony will also honor other murder victims who are represented on plaques at the Butterfly Garden.

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