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OAKLAND PARK (CBSMiami) – Five months after her murder, Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives said they have arrested the alleged killer of 19-year-old Nicole Franco.
Franco’s neighbor D’Marcus Tucker, 15, is being charged with one count of first-degree murder in Franco’s death.
Detectives said just before 3:30 a.m. on June 3rd, Tucker used a sliding glass door to enter Franco’s apartment located at 2800 N.W. 44 St.
Tucker reportedly armed himself with a knife from her kitchen, before going into her bedroom in search of cash.
According to authorities, Tucker took Franco’s wallet from her purse. As he turned to leave, Tucker accidentally stepped on the purse, which awoke Franco. Police said a startled Tucker stabbed Franco in the chest.
Tucker allegedly told police he watched Franco dial 911 before fleeing and throwing the wallet into a lake behind the apartments.
During the 911 call, Franco told the call-taker someone had broken into her house and beat her. However, she went unconscious before she could provide more details.
Deputies arriving to the apartment building had to go door-to-door at 4:11 a.m. to find Franco’s apartment. In the process of searching they noticed the open sliding glass door and discovered her body.
Franco’s parents attended a news conference announcing the arrest in Monday afternoon.
Teri and Steve Franco fought back tears.
“Nikki always saw the good in everyone. She is out angel watching over us now,” said Teri Franco.
They said the arrest is bittersweet, because while the murder has been solved they will always deal with the pain of losing their daughter
“I haven’t slept in five months. I want to know why. Why did he have to kill her? This was my baby,” said Steve Franco.
DNA evidence found on Franco’s comforter led detectives to Tucker, who was enrolled in a juvenile rehabilitation program in Fort Myers. He entered the juvenile program in September and had to give a DNA swab, which has helped BSO piece this together.
“He has a history of burglary and beating a pregnant woman,” said lead BSO Homicide Detective Kevin Forsberg.
According to BSO, Tucker had been on house arrest living with his mother at the time he broke into Franco’s apartment.
On Friday, October 31st, BSO detectives searching inside and outside Tucker’s apartment said they found a knife with blood on it in the seventh-floor stairwell of his building. It is undergoing analysis at BSO’s Crime Lab.
Tucker is being held at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office jail and is awaiting transfer to Broward County.
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