Family holds out hope hero daughter’s killer will be found

A Southwest Florida family continues to await the day the person who killed a beloved daughter is brought to justice.

Wednesday marks three years since a shooter gunned down 25-year-old Destiney Bocanegra in Bonita Springs. She died with her young son in her arms, protecting him from bullets.

Authorities are still searching for her killer and her family isn’t giving up hope.

In a cemetery off SR-82 in Lehigh Acres, pictures, flowers, purple T-shirts and big balloons mark Bocanegra’s resting place.

“I would just … I would just hold her tell her how much I love her and miss her; we all love and miss her,” said Lisa Vega-Alva, Bocanegra’s mother.

“Pain never goes away. It still feels like it was just yesterday,” said Martin Vega, her uncle.

It was three years ago when the life-loving, outgoing, young mother died, murdered while shielding her son “Mikey” from stray bullets. She was also pregnant.

“I said please don’t tell me … he said I’m sorry to tell you she was killed,” Vega-Alva recalled. “I just fell and I don’t remember what happened after that.”

“Part of our heart is gone. I never felt this way about anyone else’s death but she was such a part of me,” said Coleen Russo, Bocanegra’s stepmother.

Such a big part of the pain the big, loving, grieving family still feels is knowing Bocanegra’s killer is still out there, getting away with murder.

“I don’t know if they’re laughing about it or joking about it,” Vega said.

“That baby probably goes to sleep thinking, ‘Are they gonna come get me?'” said Tina Shelly, Bocanegra’s aunt.

All the family is left with, for now, are the small tokens at a gravesite. They hope and pray that if someone knows something about the murder, that person will step up and say something.

“I mean these years, it’s not getting any easier knowing we’re suffering and they get to live their lives. That’s not fair,” Vega-Alva said.

If you know who killed Destiney Bocanegra or have any information on her murder, you should call the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS. You’ll remain anonymous. The reward to find her killer is up to $8,000, which includes $3,000 from Crime Stoppers and $5,000 from the family.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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