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Hundreds run for Zimmermann's memory, justice

Published On: Sep 30 2012 04:13:42 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 30 2012 04:20:45 AM CDT

Brittany Zimmermann was just 21 years old when her murdered body was found in an apartment near the UW-Madison campus in the spring of 2008.

Her unanswered 911 call led to lawsuits and an overhaul off the Dane County Public Safety Communications Center.

While it’s been over four years since Zimmermann’s death, the community and police haven’t stopped searching for her killer.

On Saturday, her family honored her memory with the third annual “Brittany Run.”

Hundreds of walkers and runners laced up their sneakers for the picturesque 5K run/walk that this year traveled down the Lakeshore Path by Lake Mendota.

"The downtown area is all torn up on Langdon Street,” said race director Erik Pearce. “And we wanted to move it out so we had a little more room."IDEO

Despite a change in location, organizers said their mission remains the same.

"To make sure people can be aware of what can happen,” said Brittany’s mom Jean. “And hopefully it will never happen again."

"It's also about giving her a legacy moving forward,” added Pearce. “We want to make Brittany the face of crime prevention, the champion of fighting crime in the area. So instead of being just a victim, she moves ahead of that and can kind of help out and live on year after year."

Since her death in 2008, Zimmermann’s mom and others have been working to create legislation that will make it easier to collect DNA from potential suspects.

"It's called ‘DNA Saves,’” said Jean Zimmermann, “and it is upon arrest, and I really think it will make a difference in Brittany's case."

The police agree with the proposed legislation.

"If we get it at the point of arrest, we'll increase the DNA data bank,” said Madison police chief Noble Wray. “It will make a more efficient and effective way of providing safety in this state."

As hundreds finished the race on Saturday, Madison police continue to hope to cross a finish line of their own by bringing Brittany's killer to justice.

Organizers aren't sure if next year's event will return to its original location at Monona Terrace.

Today's donations will go toward Madison Area Crime Stoppers.

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