Thursday, May 24, 2007
Out for Justice: Cynteria Phillips
She was a teenager who lived an incredibly lonely life, constantly searching for a family to care for her. Instead, a killer found her, and now one cold case detective who refuses to give up is asking for your help to find a young girl's killer. Here is Patrick Fraser with Out for Justice.
WSVN -- She was a cute 13-year-old girl, an age when she should have been thinking about cellphones, makeup and going to the mall, but she was never that lucky.
Detective Emiliano Tamayo of Miami's Cold Case Unit: "Cynteria was a 13-year-old going on 30, been in and out of shelter, foster parents homes. She came from a broken home, was very street smart."
Patrick Fraser: "Detective Tamayo never met Cynteria. The first time he saw her she was face down, nude, murdered in a Miami alley."
Detective Emiliano Tamayo: "This case touched my heart from the very beginning. A young girl murdered, nobody cared for her."
Patrick Fraser: "Cynteria never had a family. Her mother battled a drug addiction. Cynteria went from the foster homes to shelters, only wanting one thing."
Stacey Phillips, Cynteria's Mom: "All she told me is, 'Momma, I want my family back, all I want to do is be loved and cared for.' She is a human being, she had family too."
Patrick Fraser: "Keona Wright met Cynteria when they were in detention together. They became best friends."
Keona Wright, Cynteria's Friend: "She always smiled, she always had a smile on her face. For some reason, she was always able to cover up her sadness. I've never seen her look sad."
Patrick Fraser: "But, on the last day of her life, her sadness led her to run again from the shelter where was staying."
It was the summer of 2000.
Detective Emiliano Tamayo: "The body was found 12 hours later behind Edison High School."
Patrick Fraser: "The murder of a little 13-year-old stunned even cynical South Floridians."
Doreen Stewart, Cynteria's Foster cousin: "If someone does this without coming forward, he might do this to somebody else."
Patrick Fraser: "Keona was saddened that day and is still upset today at the way her friend is remembered."
Keona Wright: "They portray her as a runaway, out of control, but that was not the truth. I knew her, and I knew she wasn't out of control. She wasn't a bad girl."
Patrick Fraser: "But Cynteria did use bad judgement that night. She was last seen about 2 a.m. at a street party."
Detective Emiliano Tamayo: "I think she was picked up by the wrong individual or individuals. Things might have gotten a little out of control, she lost control of the situation and was murdered."
Patrick Fraser: "The autopsy revealed Cynteria was strangled. The killer left DNA, but, so far, it has not matched anyone."
Detective Emiliano Tamayo: "It Leads me to believe, probably the only crime he has ever committed has been this."
Patrick Fraser: "Detective Tamayo was in homicide when he investigated Cynteria's murder. He moved on, left the homicide unit and joined the Cold Case squad, but he did not leave Cynteria Phillips behind."
Detective Emiliano Tamayo: "I was the lead detective on this case. I still am, I'll never relinquish control of this case. This case means a lot to me."
Patrick Fraser: "He is filled with determination. Cynteria's mother is filled with something else."
Stacey Phillips, mother: "I have regrets because I chose the kind of life that I ran there on the streets."
Patrick Fraser: "Stacey, who is now battling lupus says Cynteria never really had a chance at a normal life."
Stacey Phillips, mother: "She kept running, and I guess she just got tired, and God just did what he had to do, just take her away from all of the misery, all the sadness she had in her life."
Patrick Fraser: "She never had a normal life, but her friend Keona wants them to all get justice, setting up a website that has raised a $100,000 reward for clues about Cynteria's killer."
Keona Wright: "I want to see who did it, why. I just want to know the whole story."
Patrick Fraser: "She will never forget her friend. Tamayo will never forget that little girl he first saw in an alley."
Detective Emiliano Tamayo: "This is the only case that has only ever affected me personally, and I have seen some horrible things in my career. This one still keeps you up at night."
Patrick Fraser: "Tamayo hopes the killer told someone what he did or someone who saw something that night will finally step forward."
If you know anything about the summer 2000 murder of Cynteria, call Miami's Cold Case detectives at 305-579-6530.
If you have a murder you would like to see us revisit, give us a call. There are a lot of people still out for justice.
And don't be afraid to share any information you may have. If you call Out for Justice with a tip on a cold case, you do not have to identify yourself.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Out for Justice