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  1. #1

    $115,000 Reward Offered In Teen's Murder

    BY ANDREA ROBINSON arobinson@MiamiHerald.com

    More than five years after 13-year-old Cynteria Phillips' body was found near Edison High School, a state senator and a crusading childhood friend of the victim announced a $115,000 reward Tuesday for information leading to the capture of the killer.

    A $100,000 donation toward the award was pledged by a Philadelphia businessman who earlier this month donated a similar amount for information in the case of a Broward County girl murdered three years ago. Cynteria's nude body was found Aug. 15, 2000, next to Edison High, 6161 NW Fifth Ct. in Miami. According to police, she died from a blow to the head. The killing sparked short-lived community outrage but few leads.


    Tuesday afternoon at a church in Liberty City, state Sen. Frederica Wilson led a gathering of officials and citizens to remind residents that a child killer is still at large.''She was beaten, raped and left behind Miami Edison just like a dog,'' Wilson said. Joining Wilson was Keona Wright, a 19-year-old Miami Dade College student and Cynteria's childhood friend. Earlier this year she implored Wilson to help draw attention to the case. They stood alongside a poster-size portrait of Cynteria, draped in a red ribbon. A black angel stood next to the picture.

    Standing before television cameras, Wright was a bit hesitant at first. Wilson encouraged her to speak, and she did. She shared how she gave Cynteria the nickname ''Smiley'' because she liked to laugh, and that she liked to dance and go to the mall. She also told how her death still haunts her. ''I don't know who could have killed her or why. Someone somewhere knows the truth,'' Wright said. Wright has used the Internet to publicize the case. This summer she wrote essays about the killing in hopes of attracting attention, and the national television crime series America's Most Wanted put one of them on its website. Earlier this month, Wright sent her essays to Broward resident Gary Karp, whose daughter Marissa, 17, was found murdered along Alligator Alley in 2002. She asked for his help. Karp contacted Joe Mammana, a Philadelphia businessman known for bankrolling reward funds in murders and kidnappings. On Dec. 6, Mammana donated a $100,000 reward in Marissa Karp's death. Karp said Tuesday that Mammana will do the same in the Miami case.
    According to published reports, Mammana has served prison time for aggravated assault, drug possession and burglary. Mammana didn't return a phone call Tuesday.

    The remaining funds were donated by the city of Miami, Crime Stoppers, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the 5000 Role Models of Excellence.


    Miami Mayor Manny Diaz congratulated Wright for her persistence and ''keeping hope alive.'' He pledged to push legislation in the city for a reward fund ``for crimes that shock the consciousness.''

    Also making appeals for people to step forward were Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle and Miami police homicide Sgt. Eunice Cooper. ''This case stays with me and my detectives,'' Cooper said. She added that the case affected the lead detective so much that for a time he had a picture of Cynteria as a screen saver on his computer.

  2. #2
    News of this reward put a smile on my face

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    I hope $115,000 will be motivation enough to have someone come forward about the evil person who killed this child!

    It won't bring Cynteria back, but it may help stop another child from suffering the same fate.

    How very, very sad this happens in our world. My heartfelt sympathies to Cynteria's family and those who knew her well.

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