A 19-year-old honors student goes to bed with a bright future to dream about, only to be murdered in her sleep.

Ashleigh Love had just graduated high school with honors when a masked gunman stormed into her family's home. Her grieving parents will never be able to erase the nightmarish scene from their minds.

Mom Tammy and dad Joe found it difficult to talk about Ashleigh without breaking down when they told Crime Watch Daily of their heartbreak.

Ashleigh Love held a special place in their hearts as the only girl among their three children.

"She was like a little mama to her little brother Alex," said Tammy Love.

They say she was just about the nicest, good-natured kid any parent could hope to have.

"Even if she was like not having the greatest day, just, she was so funny," said Joey Clancy, Ashleigh's best friend since kindergarten.

Ashleigh had also done her mom and dad proud as a quiet overachiever.

"She was very smart, but she didn't like to let anybody know that. But high school was a breeze for her," said Tammy. "She was very shy that way. She didn't like anybody to make a big deal out of her."

Even with the world at her feet after finishing high school, Ashleigh happily took a job at a fast-food restaurant near the family home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin while deciding what career to pursue.

"She really didn't know her options were open," said Tammy Love.

And on the night she was murdered on October 6, 2009, Ashleigh had come home from work as usual and watched a Green Bay Packers football game with her family.

"She took her shower and then went to bed," said Tammy.

The next thing Tammy remembers is suddenly being jolted from her sleep.

"I just specifically remember jumping out of my sleep, like, 'Huh?'" said Tammy.

But she didn't know what had woken her.

"And I'm looking at my alarm clock and it said 2 o'clock, 2 a.m.," said Tammy. "Now, thinking back, I really believe that's when she died. So then I get up and open the door up, and in front of me is standing this person with a gun. A big, long gun. I'm like, 'Oh my God.' I thought we were being robbed."

"She had called my name," said Joe Love. "And said 'Check on Ashleigh, check on Ashleigh!'"

Ashleigh was in the upstairs bedroom.

"And I'm like 'Ashleigh, Ashleigh,' and I get up there and it's like, I couldn't really see that well," said Joe.

Joe reeled back in horror at the sight of his beloved teenage daughter lying dead in her bed after being brutally shot point-blank in the face.

"And all of a sudden I just see her face was just gone," said Joe. "I just started screaming, 'Who would do something like this?'"

A distraught Tammy Love couldn't bring herself to look at her daughter's body.

"That would have made it real. To me, it wasn't real," said Tammy.

Nobody in the house, including the Loves' two sons, heard the gunshot that killed Ashleigh, fired by a masked intruder who'd broken into their house and then escaped through one of the doors. And Tammy thinks he may have had an accomplice with him.

"I heard something, like a flash. I could see like somebody else running," said Tammy.

But police can't say if there may have been a second intruder.

"We recovered evidence, and some of the evidence we can't disclose at this time, but there is and has been evidence to the crime lab and back," said Milwaukee Police Det. Erik Villarreal.

Milwaukee detectives had quickly discounted burglary as a motive after learning nothing was missing from the house.

"I think when you have a crime like this, you don't know for sure what their motive is until they explain it," said Milwaukee Police Det. Erik Gulbrandson.

"It was 2 a.m. She was asleep," said Det. Villarreal. "So you don't know what kind of interaction there was between her and the suspect, or if the suspect just came up there and shot her."

But they suspect Ashleigh Love had been specifically targeted.

"If it's random, that would be scary," said Det. Villarreal.

Tammy had described the gunman to detectives as a Hispanic male about 20 years old, of average height and build.

"He had short, spiked black hair, wearing a dark zippered sweater or jacket," said Villarreal.

And police scoured Ashleigh's social media accounts looking for anyone who matched that description.

"They were all thoroughly reviewed and nothing that led us to a suspect," said Villarreal.

None of Ashleigh's friends appeared to be a suspect either.

"We have talked to everybody we're aware of that she socialized with, interviewed them. We've obtained their background information," said Det. Gulbrandson.

But detectives would get reports that Ashleigh Love had been seen secretly meeting with a mystery man on several occasions before her murder.

"And it appeared to the people that saw those two interact that she didn't want other people to know she was meeting with this person, kind of like a secret friend or acquaintance of some sort," a detective said in a joint press conference with Ashleigh's family in an effort to find the so-called mystery man. "Right now we just need to talk to him to find out what he can tell us about his involvement with Ashleigh."

Ashleigh's anguished parents plead with him to come forward.

Lifelong friend Joey Clancy is surprised Ashleigh didn't confide in her if she had a secret boyfriend.

"They talk about people with double lives and stuff, but Ashleigh was like way too honest to have a double life," said Joey Clancy.

There were also reports Ashleigh had been seen getting into a blue pickup truck with an unidentified man in the months before her murder, but investigators couldn't confirm them.

"We were unable to identify that particular truck, or someone that would admit to being that person that picked her up," said Det. Gulbrandson.

And they're still no closer to finding Ashleigh Love's killer than they were when she was murdered seven years ago.

"And that is what is hard and frustrating for us," said Det. Villarreal.

But Ashleigh's mom refuses to give up hope, visiting her daughter's grave every day and vowing to keep visiting it until her murderer is brought to justice.

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