EXCLUSIVE: A mother's mission to find her daughter's killer

Tess Henry was found murdered in a dumpster on Christmas Eve in 2017. Her killer remains at large. (Kelsey Thomas | KSNV)

It was a brutal and baffling crime.

The body of a young woman found at the bottom of an apartment complex dumpster on Christmas Eve of 2017.

Pat Mehrmann traveled from Virginia to Las Vegas, hoping to trace her daughter's final days.

Her daughter, Tess Henry, was found beaten, burned and then thrown away like trash near Flamingo Road and Maryland Parkway.

“My beautiful daughter was lying dead in the bottom of that dumpster. You can't fathom that reality. It's surreal, and if you knew my daughter and saw pictures of her, you knew what a beautiful young woman she was,” said Pat Mehrmann.

Mehrmann is trying to make contact with anyone who may have interacted with her daughter.

“It’s been healing, walking the streets among those who walked the streets just like my daughter,” Mehrmann explained.

Brian Kowalski, homicide detective for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, was one of the first people at the scene of the crime.

“This was not the kind of crime you expect to go on on Christmas Eve. It was something completely random. We had no idea how she got there,” said Detective Kowalski. "My belief is that they did not want her to be found. The thought process that I would have is, it is the day before Christmas. Even if the dumpster is completely empty on Christmas Eve, it's going to be full by the end of Christmas day. “

Tess Henry has battled with opioids for years.

“There's not a day that goes by that you don't worry they're going to get that last fix that's going to take their life. That overdose. You're always prepared for that call,” said Mehrmann.

Henry came to Las Vegas for rehab.

It was a long journey that journalist and author Beth Macy documented in her book "Dopesick," a story about America's opioid crisis.

“If you would see the way she was raised: beautiful house, vacation home, father's a surgeon, the mother is a nurse, educated. The story so illustrates how there is literally no one in America immune from this disease. It could happen to anyone." said Macy.

Macy hoped that Henry would survive her addiction. Instead, she was brutally murdered.

Detective Kowalski admits he doesn’t have a lot of clues, which is why the case remains unsolved.

"The problem we run into is we have a victim, where there is a window where we cannot find exactly where she was or who she was with,” said Kowalski.

Mehrmann will keep searching for clues and closures at the spot where Henry’s life abruptly ended.

“It's really, really hard. She was a special angel, and I think about her every single day,” she said.

If you have any information that might help detectives find Tess Henry’s killer, call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

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