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Officials: Deaths Of Young Women In Oakland Park Are Unrelated

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Peter-D'oench-600x450 Peter D'Oench
Peter D'Oench is a reporter for CBS4 News. He came to CBS4 from ...
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South Florida Crime

OAKLAND PARK (CBSMiami) —  CBS4 has learned investigators may be close to making an arrest in the murder of a 17-year-old girl on Wednesday, one of two young women found dead just a day apart in Oakland Park this week.

Sources told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that investigators are making a great deal of progress in the death of Amaya Cruz. The Broward Sheriff’s Office said the deaths are not related.

Cruz was found dead on Wednesday, June 5th while  19-year-old Nicole Franco’s body was found inside an apartment just a day before.

BSO said they received a call for medical help in the 500 block of NW 41 Street near Powerline Road around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. When they arrived, paramedics found Cruz’s body and pronounced her dead.

She was shot and beaten, according to a crossing guard who also heard the girl’s mother screaming.

“The mom came out and said, ‘Somebody killed my baby!’ said Susie Jamison. “I do remember her saying that. I believe she said she was shot and somebody also told me that she was beaten very bad.”

Employees of the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office removed the body to perform an autopsy.

On Wednesday night, investigators appeared to be searching through trash in the back of the building.

They also  focused attention on a green car which was towed away. The crossing guard said the car was often in the neighborhood in the mornings.

Cruz’s parents were on scene but asked not to be identified.

Several neighbors told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench Cruz was full of life and often seen walking in her neighborhood.

The death has hit home with friends and neighbors and even strangers. People have dropped off flowers and donations for  family.

Cathy Cerniglia stopped by with a cash donation for the Cruz family.

“I have a son who is 21 and I could have been in the same situation. I live in the neighborhood and I own a restaurant in the neighborhood and I work in the neighborhood,” said Cerniglia. “If it was my son, I hope someone would come out to help as well. I feel terrible; this is absolutely horrible. It shouldn’t be happening in our neighborhood.”

“I feel so very sad because I have family. I am so sad, I can’t sleep at night,” said neighbor Nativita Gabriel. “She was such a nice girl. She was always saying hello to me.”

Neighbors tell CBS 4 News that they remember seeing Cruz walking often in her neighborhood. A woman who did not want to give her name spoke briefly after dropping off flowers near Cruz’s door.

“It’s not fair,” said the woman. “It’s sad. Someone lost her daughter. We just want to show that we support her.”

A BSO spokesperson told CBS 4 News that as of late Thursday afternoon there was no update on anyone being charged with the crime.

D’Oench also spoke with Amaya Cruz’s mother when she stopped by the makeshift memorial where people have brought flowers and stuffed animals. She said she didn’t want to say anything right now. Cruz’s aunt said detectives have asked family members not to comment at this point.

Detectives are also working on trying to find out how Franco died after a call to police about a burglary around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday led deputies to her dead body.

BSO is not saying how she died or if anything was taken.

Deputies said the  sheriff’s office received a call about the burglary at the Bridgewater Apartments at 2800 NW 44th Street but did not give an exact location.

During the search of the gated complex they found a unit that appeared to have been broken into.

“They found an open sliding glass door, they called inside and received no answer from any resident. So they went into the apartment and conducted a search and inside they found the body of an adult female who had been killed,” said BSO’s Dani Moschella.

Residents of the complex were shocked Tuesday when they heard about what had happened. Danielle Hoover said her sister heard a loud noise in the middle of the night and wondered if it was related to the woman’s murder.

“She was sleeping. She woke up. She heard a bang and just didn’t think anything of it because there’s a lot of activity that goes on here, so she went back to sleep,” said Hoover.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

To watch Peter D’Oench’s report, click here.

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