OAKLAND PARK (CBSMiami) – Loved ones are speaking out for the first time after the murder of 17-year-old Amaya Cruz in Oakland Park, saying she was a “loving, caring, beautiful, green-eyed beauty” and calling her accused killer a “monster.”
“Amaya was a loving, caring, beautiful, green-eyed beauty and will forever miss her. We will forever miss her,” said Cruz’s aunt, Crystal Ferran, in an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
Ferran and Cruz’s uncle Todd Clingman spoke out for the first time since Cruz’s death and also shared eight new photographs of the teen with CBS4.
Watch Peter D’Oench’s report, click here.
Cruz’s loved ones are preparing to say goodbye to her at a viewing on Tuesday and a funeral service on Wednesday and said they are trying to raise money as well for burial expenses and expenses for her family.
Ferran may never get over the loss of her niece who was found murdered last week outside her family’s apartment.
“We love her and all I can say is that she was beautiful,” said Ferran. “She had the best heart and the best hugs. She was just the best.”
There is a growing makeshift memorial with stuffed teddy bears, candles and notes for the teen’s family at her apartment at 580 N.W. 41st St. Her friends and family say that shows in part how many people cared about her and are in mourning.
“It means more than anything,” said Ferran. “It means more than anything to us. So many people cared for her and her family just loved her. She did not deserve this from this monster that took her from us. She was just 17 and so precious. She was beyond precious. She was just beautiful.”
Cruz’s uncle, Todd Clingman, told D’Oench, “We’re not even getting our minds wrapped around this. It’s going to take time. It’s just, to lose a child, that’s the tough part. She was just one of those full of life people and when you think of Amaya, you think of her beautiful green eyes, curly long hair, her laughter, her hugs, her energy. She had a lot of personality and that’s what we will miss about her.”
“I think people were just drawn to her. To think that a 17-year-old kid would have to go through this scenario. It shouldn’t happen to anyone in the world, especially in this country. I think you raise your kids in a world where you want them to be good hearted and trust in society and people, that kind of thing. I think unfortunately we live in a world where sometimes people are not nice and you trust them and that is sad.”
“The thing that is most important is that she trusted Jesus Christ as her savior years ago and we will make choices and of course anything can happen, but we all know we will see her again because that’s the gospel message of the eternity we have and we know this through faith,” said Clingman.
There will be a viewing that is open to the public for Amaya Cruz on Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center for Spiritual Living at 1550 N.E. 26th St. in Wilton Manor followed by a service that is also open to the public. Cruz wil be buried Wednesday in a private ceremony.
“We are trying to raise money for burial expenses for Amaya,” said Clingman, “and we are trying to raise money for her mother as well who has had to miss work.”
Clingman said money is being raised for Cruz’s family through the Rev. Dennis Eastling and the Key Biscayne Community Church at 355 Glenridge Road, Key Biscayne, FL. 33149. The church’s telephone number is (305) 361-2411.
Clingman is also raising money through the North Cobb Christian School at 4500 Lakeview Drive, Kennesaw, GA. The school’s telephone number is (770) 975-0252.
Cruz’s boyfriend, 26-year-old Bobby Scott, is charged with first degree murder. Detectives said the couple was having an argument before the murder in a series of text messages. They say the motive in this case may have been jealousy. They believe Scott waited for Cruz to come home early Wednesday morning and confronted her and then beat her to death.
During a court appearance for Scott on Friday morning, Judge John Hurley read from an arrest warrant in the case.
“(You) killed one Amaya Cruz by bludgeoning her,” the Judge said.
The Broward Sheriffs Office said one of the text messages shows Scott accusing Cruz of having sex with other men. She denied it. Another text shows Cruz warned Scott not to hit her.
“When I get home u better not touch me or were done for real,” she wrote.
BSO detectives said they found “several suspect blood stained concrete pieces in close proximity” to Cruz’s apartment. And when they interviewed Scott after the murder, detectives “observed suspect blood stains on the bottom and sides of the shoes Scott was wearing. He also pointed to dried suspect blood on his hands.”
BSO says after the murder Scott knocked on Cruz’s door and told her family that he was looking for her. Investigators say seconds later, Scott went back to the door and said he found Cruz’s injured body and told her family to call 911. The arrest report says Scott held Cruz’s body until paramedics arrived. Scott remained on the scene after deputies arrived and CBS4 watched as BSO towed away his green car.
BSO said in a news release that Cruz died from blunt force trauma.
Cruz’s friends are also honoring her memorial online. They want the person responsible for taking her life to receive justice.
Scott us being held without bond.
CBS4 checked his records and found he has several prior arrests dating back to 2005 for drugs, grand theft and burglary and he currently has an open case for possession of marijuana.