By Sandra Rose  | 

Kanika Powell did everything she was supposed to do after she became the victim of a stalking.

But it was her reluctance to discuss her high security job that may have cost her her life.

The circumstances surrounding the death of the vibrant 28-year-old who was gunned down execution-style near her home, leaves many questions unanswered.

According to an article on the Washington Post website, Powell worked as a security specialist for Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Prince George's County, MD.

Not much else is known about Powell's duties at the lab where scientists work on more than 400 homeland security and other research projects.

Since Powell's job involved homeland security, the Army veteran couldn't tell her family what her job entailed or where she went when she left town on work-related trips.

So on August 23, when a strange man showed up at her door flashing a badge and asking for her by name, she had more than enough reason to be worried.

Through the locked door, the man told Powell he was an FBI agent and needed to talk to her about a bank fraud investigation. Powell asked for photo identification but the man walked away without showing his ID.

Police arrived 4 minutes after Powell called them. And though they scoured Powell's apartment complex, they couldn't locate the man fitting the description that Powell gave them.

Two days later, Powell sat down and composed an email to friends detailing the stranger's visit. 'I asked who he was and all he stated was that he was from the FBI and that he was looking for Kanika Powell. It freaked me out completely because this man knew my name.'

Toward the end of the email, Powell wrote, '…not only did I get NO sleep for the rest of my weekend, I am trying to get an alarm system installed in my apartment.'

Powell signed her e-mail to friends and colleagues as "Kanika T. Powell, Special Security, 13-S448 JHU/APL."

The alarm was installed in her apartment, but four days after the first incident, a different man showed up at Powell's door posing as a deliveryman. Again, Powell refused to open her door. The next day, Thursday, a third man knocked on Powell's door claiming to have a package for her, but when she didn't open her door, he left without leaving the package or a claim slip.

Five hours later, upon returning home from running errands, Powell was ambushed outside her door by a gunman who opened fire with an automatic weapon. Powell was found lying in a stairwell after neighbors called police to report sounds of gunshots and a woman screaming.

She was rushed to a hospital and straight into surgery where doctors tried to repair the damage caused by multiple gunshots to her upper torso. But Powell died the next day, on August 29, while in intensive care.

Prince George's County police are baffled by the strange case. They are asking anyone with information to call the county's Crime Solvers hotline at 866-411-TIPS (8477). The family is offering a $25,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the killer or killers.

Michael Buckley, a spokesman for the Hopkins laboratories in Laurel, dismissed any notion that Powell's death was work-related. He declined to name the lab where Powell worked, or her job title, citing "the nature of the work."

Powell's mother, Judy Forrest, said her daughter wouldn't discuss her work with her. Powell would occasionally leave town for a couple of days to pick up things for the lab, she said. "I would ask her where she was going, and she would say, 'Mom, you know I can't tell you that.' "


  • bloggergirlz

    how sad. may she rest in peace. this is the first ive heard of this story.

    there r many specialized jobs out here that r "hush hush". a lot of them r government jobs, which is really scary. unfortunately her family n friends may never get the answers they r lookn for.

  • karaz

    I read about this story elsewhere and she had no scorned lovers or anything of that nature, the only thing the police know for sure is that her murder wasn't random. I wish her employers would at least pretend to help in the investigation before washing their hands of it, so her family can get some piece of mind.

  • starr

    this is sad. And Whom ever did this, knew her. She may not of known them, but they knew her. Its scary.

    And thats how it is when you do certain government jobs. You know this going in. Thats just the way it is.

  • marshefen

    Wow! This is so sad! It had to be something work related. It's sad that she never really knew the reason why and her family may never know either.

  • shannon04

    This is so very sad. Its a shame this had to happen to her and it is very likely that this was work related. Working for the government or relatively close is a no no for me. How many times do we see this type of thing in movies or on tv? She was working on something or knew something and she wasnt supposed just can't make this stuff up.

  • Ilovepink1981

    I believe this was work related, but the government will deny it to the end. There's no way her family or anyone will know what really happened. Eventually we will get an update to the story and it will be said that she owed money, or had a secret lover or soemthing that will put the blame on her.

  • goat76


  • JustSaying

    Her eyes saw something she was not suppose to see and she got waxed for it. The sad thing is she may not even known what see saw was deadly. You know the goverment - cover your tracks at all cost.


    Wow this is very sad. May she rest in peace and her family find closure.

  • IamdaQueen

    My cousin was one of her best friends from high school and I received the e-mail that Kanika wrote as a warning because at first everyone thought that maybe someone was going aroung targeting females and asking for them by name. My cousin forwarded the e-mail out not knowing that Kanika was still solely being targeted. I was shocked when my cousin subsequently sent out another e-mail saying that Kanika was killed and then finding out all the other details on the news.

    Sadly, I don't think Kanika's killers will ever come to justice either because I too believe it has something to do with her "top secret" job. Maybe she saw or heard something or someone thought she saw or heard something that she wasn't supposed to see or hear. Whatever it was, she was very scared and worried before her death. I hope her soul is resting in peace.

  • katgirl33

    I bet this got something to do with her sad that she couldn't tell anybody.

    The government is not gonna tell us if this had something to do with her job, or some type of terrorist shyt....they are not gonna say anything unless America gets attacked again.

    May this lady's soul rest in peace!


  • LovelyLady


    You live in Maryland. I do to, born in Dc and raised in Maryland/Pg County.

    I didn't here anything about this, but it's so sad none the less. Obviously her job had soemthing to do with it. The goverment is so sneaky, if she saw something she wasn't suppose to, then THEY probably got rid of it.

    Working in top secret jobs you can't tell family or friends where you work or what your job really consist of. My sisters best friend works for the CIA and she can't even tell us WHERE she works or, nor is she allowed to bring in her cell phone. We can't even call hewr at work, all she can do is email.


  • kwallace577

    i read this over the weekend. this is too too sad and scary. hearts out to her parents fam and friends

  • intensemocha

    something sounds definitely extra suspicious in this situation, possibly because of her job but even moreso because she wrote an e-mail because she wanted people to know that something was wrong and that she felt threatened by the situation

    she took the time to write that to forewarn people, are you telling me that not once did she state if the man was black or white?

    I dunno, I believe it was a hit and it definitely had something to do with what she may have known

    the ploys they used repeatedly to try and get her to open the door was obviously well planned and attempted on two separate occasions-can you say organized and a random mofo aint trying to get at no chick like this-just because they are infatuated he would have done something more erratic like broken into her house, approached her and tried to talk

    it's obvious from the way she was killed, execution style and no rape, robbery, etc. someone or very important wanted her dead point blank period......this was definitely a hit

    May she rest in peace, my prayers and condolences go out to her family.....

  • Peachiz

    WOW... I sincere condolences to the family.(I guess i assumes(ass of myself) that the government had protection for their employees)? They have it for the criminals right? WOW

  • Peachiz

    Damnn, I would be a horrible detective, I didnt't event think about the fact that she went into all that emailing etc, didn't give details about the "suspicious men". Is it fair for me to say if you work for the Government tell at least ya Mama(this is proof that somebody should know something about your whereabouts, in your family that is)

  • ReadTheBlog

    Ok....that sounds like something from a movie. It's BS that she could never tell anyone where she was going. Oh someone would know, alright.

  • BayArea

    This is really crazy and probably happens all the time but is swept under to rug. Hopefully now that the story is making its rounds a true investigation is conducted, which I highly doubt.

    May Kanika R.I.P!

  • DivaMama

    WOW. This is insane. As I see, we all know that it is work related. There is no other way that this could have happened. She was loyal to her job though. I would have at least told my mom...

    @ intensemocha, maybe she did and the whole e-mail is not posted to protect the integrity of the case? Or maybe it's a cover up, but they wanted to show some of it to throw others off and make it seem more random? I mean, either way it's sad and ridiculous that they are not giving more information to bring those men to justice for proscecution. We'll see how this unfolds, but I'm sure we won't here much else about it.


    I feel sorry for her family because the government will never tell them the "true story" therefore they will never have closure. This young lady worked for the government and her job was so secretive then why didn't she already have an alarm system installed in her home? You would think that the government would at least protect their employees who have such high level security access. I pray that her famiily finds out what really happened and not some lame story that diverts attention away from this tragedy since it has become so public.

  • meccai

    the goverment had their hand in that shyt!

  • vipatlstyle

    It's probably some secret code in the letter she wrote. What does the full email say?

  • katgirl33

    I wonder if she informed the govt that somebody was messing with her?

  • Kymystry

    Sad .. and as usual .. intensemocha hit the nail on the head ...

    the email info that was released to the public was indeed the watered down version .. the one the Govt wanted you to see. . . .

  • intensemocha


    you are probably right about the details of the e-mail not being fully released

    but I am thinking if we are looking for some random perp-as they would like to have us believe girl they would have at least gave some sort of description so the public would feel like we could participate in solving this crime right?

    girl they didn't because they already know who did it, the release of this info was just so the public could make an assumption that someone was after her & divert our attention away from the real culprits like you and some others suggested in their posts.

  • Sandra Rose

    The first thing I thought when I read about this case was where's the description of the men? We all know that she called the police and gave a description so where is it? They're offering a reward with no description of the killers?

    This is a coverup at the highest level, but unfortunately, Kanika is black. If Kanika looked like Casey Anthony the media would be all over this story!!

  • intensemocha

    and for the record, I always tell my mama or my sister everything. My sister is back-up for things my mama ears couldn't handle-lol

    Even if my job told me not to share information about what I did , I would anyways but I would swear my mother and sister to secrecy unless something happened to me.

  • DivaMama

    @ intensemocha,

    ITA with you. The Government sent their goons out for her...

    Let me watch it before they send them out for me!

    Sandra, so right! There is always more media coverage for those of the fairer sort than darjer sort. I guess that media thinks that's what we want to see, but they don't realize that whites are slowly becoming the minority in this country with everyone coming to the states from all over. There should not be that sort of discrimination in the media, but the sad reality is there is.

  • intensemocha

    LOL-I was thinking the same thing

    sometimes you can know too much for your own good

    let me state for the record, I'm just a random poster speculating in regards to this case, just pure speculation I am not claiming any specific knowlege or information regarding what happened-

    but most of us on here agree it does sound like a cover-up, I'm just sayin.......

  • Deep Thoughts

    This is unbelievable and I will keep up with this case.

    Her email clearly is sufficient enough evidence for them to determine that she didn't have any enemies or fear of anyone particular, she was completely confused by the situation.

    I definitely think it's work related. Sometimes the government will feel the need to silence people for different reasons.

    This sounds like a movie, but it's scary.

    They continuously tried to prey upon her, it scares me because I most likely would have opened the door.

    I wonder if she opened the door would they attempted to question her fishing out her knowledge of "whatever" or would they have killed her?

    I say this because there might be a slight chance that they thought she knew about something and she truly didn't but her refusing to open up her door on 3 different occasions indicated she knew why they were there (at least in their eyes).

    I don't know, because I do open doors for delivery people even without asking for ID.

    Thanks Sandra, I will be following this one, I hope they find her killer.

  • katgirl33

    You right Sandra,

    But she didn't know how they looked, b/c she didn't never open the door.....

    This is so crazy!

    And we already know this will NOT be on ABC World News tonight.


  • intensemocha

    So on August 23, when a strange man showed up at her door flashing a badge and asking for her by name, she had more than enough reason to be worried.

    Through the locked door, the man told Powell he was an FBI agent and needed to talk to her about a bank fraud investigation. Powell asked for photo identification but the man walked away without showing his ID.

    Police arrived 4 minutes after Powell called them. And though they scoured Powell’s apartment complex, they couldn’t locate the man fitting the description that Powell gave them.

    She obviously had to have looked because she couldn't have given a description to the police


    I live in Northern VA and this is the first I’ve heard of this story. Very sad, hopefully they find answers to this horrific tragedy.

  • IamdaQueen

    FYI, I have the e-mail and she described him as "a male figure that was not familiar to me at all". I assume he was black. Had he been of another race she probably would have said that. If it was me, I would have been like "this white dude or this hispanic or whatever dude". What they reported in the news was almost the entire e-mail. It wasn't that long. They didn't really leave anything out. The rest of it was just warning her girls to be vigilant. There was something else that she said too that they didn't report but they may have left it out for specific reasons.

  • kwallace577

    i wonder if everyone who got the e-mail from her has been harassed or contacted by the gov't? because they can clearly see who got the e-mail. this is some scary mess. i know alot of folks who do work for the gov't. and they do have to sacrifice ALOT just to be able to say they work for the feds. including obviously based on this..their safety.

    sadly auntie is right. if she were anything but black it would be a totally different story.

  • Bird

    Wow. What a mysterious crime. I wonder if authorities will ever solve it.

  • Mzsuave

    intensemocha Says:

    and for the record, I always tell my mama or my sister everything. My sister is back-up for things my mama ears couldn’t handle-lol
    That's crazy girl, I thought I was the only one who does that! I tell my mom and my 3 BFF's when I am going on a date with someone. I include their full name, license plate number (if I get in the car with him), his phone number and a brief description of him. I know that is a lot, and sometimes they just laugh at me when I give them the info, but hell, it's worth it. You never know.

    So, so, so sad. Another soul gone because of some non-sense. Condolences goes out to the family.

    Guess we won't be hearing anything on CNN, huh

  • kitty4shigady

    This is so sad.I would have still told my mom where I was going when I would have had to leave town.

  • shanie

    Good Morning~

    What the hell?

    @mzsuave I am with you I tell my mom sister and BFF everything when it comes to going to new places or doing new things out of the ordinary. But my question is was she really working at this lab maybe she worked for another agency in the government. This is crazy. My Condolences go out to the family.

  • intensemocha

    LOL @ the license plate thing-I do that too and typically they laugh at me as well & tell me that I am too suspicious

    nowadays, you just never know.....

  • MzTee

    First time hearing about this story. Sandra is right...if Kanika were white this would be on all over MSM. This is some scary stuff.

    My condolences to her family. RIP Kanika!

  • Peachiz

    I thought only $25,000 that's a slap in the face..

  • Certified

    It really saddens me to read about this. I can’t even begin to imagine what the family is going through. What hurts even worse they may never know what really happen to her. Life is a beautiful gift and we have to live like it is no tomorrow cause the only thing that is truly promised to us is death. May God rest her soul and her killer is brought to justice!

  • miamore73

    I wonder why she chose to stay in her home. I mean I can understand after the first time. But by the time someone came claiming to have a package and didn't leave it. I would have been O U T!!!

    I wonder if she knew something she shouldn't have known. You have to be careful working for the government. They don't play that.

  • candycane

    Wooooooooow it sounds to me like it is work related. Maybe she found out something she wasnt supposed too, or overheard something.......... shyt you never know. The phucked up this is, her job probably wont have to give any info.

  • beauty4ashes

    This is horrible and sad. I send my condolence to her family. I wish that she would had left and went out of town and probably quit her job because it's not worth it.

    I feel so sad for this young lady family. I'm so upset and mad. I hope some Black politicians, NAACP, AL Sharpton, Black community get involved and investigated this. Whomever did this didn't have to killed this young lady over whatever. It wasn't necessary

  • Jerome Alexander Stith

    Wow, very sad to hear something like this indeed. We may never know why it really happened, but some guys are just Pervs that can't take no for an answer. I'm happy as shit that I'm not a woman. Guys in your face every day of your like if your half way decent looking. I understand when a women don't want to give me conversation at times. Hell I'm married, but they don't know that. I may be just saying hello for a legitimate reason, not trying to be fresh. Lastly, when I go out to clubs with my buddies a few times a year, I am never in women faces. Even to dance. I tell my wife the same thing, no lie. Bottom lane up front, we know that guys will always be the aggressor, but sometimes women are not in the Damn mode. I understand!!!!