The family of an aspiring US model found dead with her throat cut on a rural Jamaican road say they are “broken beyond repair”.
Désirée Gibbon’s body was found in the town of Anchovy, located around five miles from the popular tourist destination of Montego Bay on Jamaica’s north coast, on Sunday morning.
The 26-year-old, from Queens in New York, had flown to the Caribbean island in October on a three-month working visa to save up enough money to attend film school in Europe.
Ms Gibbon, who last spoke to her family on Thanksgiving and was due to fly back home this week, had been staying at her grandmother’s hotel on the island while looking for work as a bartender.
Her Jamaican father, Cali Gibbon, told the New York Daily News he couldn’t understand the brutal nature of his daughter’s murder.
“The brutality is what killed me,” he said. “She was beaten and had her throat sliced open.”
Her mother, Andrea Cali-Gibbon, said there “are just no words for this tragic event”.
“We are destroyed and broken beyond repair. Please keep praying for us as it won’t be easy for a long time,” she wrote in a message to her daughter’s friends on a GoFundMe page created to raise funds for her funeral.
“Her dad and I are going to Jamaica on Friday (1 December) to try and get answers and bring her home.
“Just know we are also thinking about you all and the grief you are going through. I’m sad and heartbroken.”
She described her daughter, who competed in beauty pageants and worked as a model from an early age, as a “kindred spirit who would hurt no one” and “the most forgiving person I ever met”.
“She loved life and wanted everyone to be happy and successful,” she wrote.
Ms Cali-Gibbon added she was “astounded” by the generosity of the hundreds who had helped raise more $20,000 (£14,000) on the crowdfunding page.
Her aunt, Peggy Brunner, told The Telegraph: “I set up the fund because we need help getting her body home to give her a proper burial.”
Local media reports she was one of 12 people killed in four days in the suburban parish of St James.
Pix 11 reports no arrests have been made and the coroner’s office will conduct anautopsy over the coming days.