Sunday marked the seventh anniversary of the fatal shooting of a Portland woman by a home intruder, and Portland police say they need help from the public to solve the cold case.

Darien Richardson, 25, was shot early on Jan. 8, 2010, at her home in the Woodfords neighborhood, suffering a wound that would lead to her death more than a month later.

Lt. Robert Martin said Sunday that police are seeking any information the public may have that could help them find her killer. Richardson was a graduate of South Portland High School and Bowdoin College.

Richardson and Cory Girard were asleep in Richardson’s apartment at 25 Rackleff St. when a masked intruder broke in, entered their bedroom, and began shooting at the couple around 1:30 a.m. Richardson was shot in the hand and upper thigh, while Girard suffered an arm wound.

Richardson spent 20 days in the hospital before she was released and moved in with her parents, Judith and Wayne Richardson of South Portland.

She died suddenly on Feb. 28, 2010, while visiting a friend in Miami. It was determined by the Florida Medical Examiner’s Office that Richardson died from a pulmonary embolism caused by a blood clot – a result of the wound to her thigh.

Girard survived, but Martin said the shooting is believed to be drug-related and that Girard was involved in dealing drugs at the time.

“Cory Girard was dealing counterfeit OxyContin between New York and Maine. It is believed this shooting is related to the illegal trafficking of prescription drugs, specifically OxyContin,” Martin said in a statement. He went on to say that Girard was a “daily user of marijuana and owned a handgun at the time of this incident.”

Police determined that his gun was not the one used to shoot Richardson.

As a result of his owning a gun, Girard was arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2014. On Oct. 1, 2015, he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of controlled substances. Girard is currently in federal prison, after being sentenced in January 2106 to serve 18 months.

Martin said the .45-caliber pistol with which Richardson was shot also was used in a homicide that occurred on Feb. 11, 2010, at 218 Park Ave.

In that case, Serge Mulongo was shot and killed by Daudoit Bitsitsi, but Portland police do not believe that Bitsitsi was involved in the Rackleff Street homicide. Bitsitsi was convicted and sentenced to 38 years in prison. He has refused to say from whom he bought the gun.

Martin said an investigation determined that Bitsitsi likely purchased the weapon from the person who killed Richardson.

Richardson’s parents continue to look for closure in their daughter’s death. They helped establish a Facebook page called “Remembering Darien,” whose purpose is to help innocent victims of violent crimes to heal and rebuild their lives in the aftermath of incomprehensible violence. The Richardsons could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

An annual scholarship fund has been established in Richardson’s honor and awarded to deserving students at South Portland High School.

Martin said her family is now offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for her death.

In 2012, after the Richardsons offered a $10,000 reward, Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch told the Press Herald, “There’s nothing to suggest that she knew that anything was going on or that her life was in danger.”

Malloch said police traced the handgun used to kill Richardson to a Maine man, who told them he bought it in 2008 at a retail outlet before selling it in late 2008 or 2009 at a Maine gun show. The man told police that he didn’t know who bought the gun and he kept no record of the sale – something that is not required by law.

Anyone with information that might help solve the crime is urged to contact the Portland Police Department at 207-874-8575. Anonymous tips can be left on the department’s crime tip line at 207-874-8584.

Mobile phone users can text the keyword (Gotcha) and their message to 2744637 (CRIMES).

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]