Mother shares story after daughter's murder by husband
SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida woman is sharing the pain of losing her daughter in a horrific murder that landed her son-in-law in jail, charged with the crime, after he allegedly confessed and posted pictures of her lifeless body on Facebook.
Carolyn Knox, the mother of 26-year-old Jennifer Alfonso, shared her emotional story with just one station Wednesday. On Tuesday, family and friends had given their final farewell to Alfonso who was found murdered in her South Miami home last Thursday.
Knox said, before the funeral, she slept in the funeral home and visited her daughter's casket for reassuring talks. "I talked to her all night, as you can imagine," she said, "although it sounds kinda crazy, during the night, cause we stayed there all night with her. I wasn't really able to sleep for very long, so I would get up in the night and just talk to her and let her know that it was going to be OK, and we would be together again."
Miami-Dade Police said Alfonso was murdered by her husband Derek Medina. Authorities found her body inside her home last Thursday after Medina surrendered to South Miami Police and confessed to shooting her dead.
Knox also shared that, 27 years earlier, she endured a similar tragedy when her own mother was shot and killed by her ex-husband, who turned the gun on himself, committing suicide. "My mother was also killed in this type of fashion," said Knox, "by her ex-husband, 27 years ago, and she never got to meet her grandmother. I was actually probably newly pregnant when her grandmother died, and I didn't know it yet."
It happened in West Miami-Dade, in February of 1986. In a twist of further irony, the home where Alfonso was found dead, at 5555 SW 67th Ave., was off the same Avenue where her mother died. "On 67th Avenue, as well, if you can believe that," noted Knox.
A day before the shooting, Medina had posted photos to Facebook of he and Alfonso, along with Alfonso's 10-year-old daughter, dining at the Miami Yacht Club. "They invited me," said Knox through tears. "It was my birthday."
A day later, Alfonso would be shot dead. Police responding to the home could be seen walking out her 10-year-old daughter wrapped in a blanket, unharmed... physically. "I have to believe that it was just a moment of madness," Knox said of the shooting.
Heart-broken family and friends wore white as they gathered for Alfonso's funeral in Doral at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery where she was laid to rest Tuesday. Knox said mourners wore white per Alfonso's request. She said her daughter had mentioned to her that in the event of her death she wished everyone would wear white in order to honor the archangel Gabriel. "My daughter was such a beautiful person," said Knox. "Even her imperfections were beautiful."
Family and friends shared pictures and special messages of Alfonso on a dedication page on Facebook. Knox said she has been touched by the outpouring of love for her daughter. "My words fail me," Knox said between sobs. "My heart is broken."
Asked if she has any anger toward the confessed killer and the public nature of her daughter's death, she said, "None. I wouldn't call it anger. I would call it disappointment. She would have wanted me to forgive him. I don't. I don't forgive him, but I'm not angry. I can't be. All I feel is pain and responsibility. I have to be strong even though I can't be."
She said she turns to faith for her strength. "There's a reason for everything. We don't know what it is," Knox offered.
The grieving mother said she never saw the original photo posted on Facebook, noting that her family was able to shield her from seeing it. She simply wants the community to remember the deceased as the loving daughter and mother that she was.
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