MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A mass held Tuesday night honored an 11-year-old girl exactly one month after she was found bleeding to death in her Little Havana apartment.
Friends and family of Martha Guzman gathered for the somber occasion but there was a hint of celebration, as the man suspected of killing the girl is in jail.
“Thank you everybody for coming to the mass. I feel happy that he’s in jail. I can sleep tonight,” Jorge Guzman said.
Miguel Ruiz Lobo, 42, is charged with occupied burglary and first degree murder in the death of Martha Guzman.
Lobo, the ex-boyfriend of the victim’s mother, claims he didn’t do it.
CBS4 has also obtained new photographs and video of the girl in her red cheerleader outfit marching in last January’s parade for Lincoln Marti schools in Little Havana, prompting her father to tell CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “I cry every day when I see it.”
“She was my daughter and my life. Whenever I see the pictures like that and the parade I cry every day,” said Guzman. “She was beautiful and she was my life. I will always keep her in my mind forever.”
Guzman watched the tape of bond court from the courthouse media room. He broke down in tears as the judge denied bond.
“This man broke my life,” Guzman told D’Oench in an interview inside the family’s apartment. “I just can’t believe it.”
“I am innocent,” Lobo told the judge. “I didn’t have anything to do with that.”
Investigators said Lobo dated Guzman’s mother for several years, but the mother ended the relationship about five months before her daughter’s death.
Lobo was arrested Monday after police say a DNA test linked him to the murder.
Police say Guzman scratched Lobo as she tried to defend herself during the violent attack that claimed her life.
At 220 pounds and 6-feet, 4-inches tall, Lobo quickly over-powered the girl and slit her neck, according to police.
“He restrained her and after he killed her, he slashed her wrists,” said City of Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa. “The wrists were slashed so far deep, that it almost came off her arm.”
Police say Lobo tried to cover up the crime, telling investigators that Guzman tried to kill herself. Orosa said Guzman had previously cut herself prior to her death, in an attempt to get her mother to end the relationship with Lobo.
“I talked with my daughter every night,” said Guzman. “She was my life. She told me everything that was going on in the house.”
Guzman said that his daughter had been having problems with her mother and Lobo. The Department of Children and Families confirmed that the agency had a “history” with the family, indicating social workers had been to the home in the past.
Martha’s mother Amaury Alvarenga said the second she discovered her daughter nearly dead in their home, she knew that Martha would never kill herself. She said she suspected Lobo instantly.
She said Martha encouraged her to leave Lobo after five years of verbal abuse and threats. Guzman said they went to file a restraining order against Lobo recently but the judge denied it.
“The judge said no, he’s not dangerous,” said Alavarenga “Well now he’s dangerous, my daughter is dead.”
Alvarenga said in the month after the murder, Lobo texted her son repeatedly about Martha’s death.
One text, written in Spanish, said Martha would be in heaven.
According to City of Miami Police, a neighbor’s surveillance video showed Lobo entering Guzman’s apartment at approximately 10:28 A.M. on June 22nd, the day of the murder, and leaving the apartment at approximately 11:00 A.M.
No one else enters or exits the residence until Guzman’s mother came home and found her daughter at approximately 2:28 P.M.