A murder investigation is underway after a New York City model was found dead with her throat slashed in Jamaica. The blood soaked body of Desiree Hyacinth Gibbon, 26, was found in bushes in the town of Anchovy, about four miles south of Montego Bay, reports Loop Jamaica. The website says that Gibbon’s body was found at 7:30 a.m. on the morning of November 26. Their description says that Gibbon’s was “caked in blood.”
Gibbon was a native of Hollis in Queens, New York. She is survived by her two sisters, Mariah and Chloe, and her parents. Gibbon was a graduate of Incarnation Catholic Academy and Bejamin N. Cardozo High School while she also attended the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria for a year, according to a tribute on the Incarnation Facebook page. Gibbon went by the nickname Desi.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Gibbon Was Last Seen on Thanksgiving
Loop Jamaica reports that Gibbon arrived in the country on October 20 and had a three month limit on her stay. The website says that Gibbon had been given the proper work permit credentials in order to look for a job. Her body was identified by a family relative who had last seen Gibbon on Thanksgiving, November 23. It was Gibbon’s third time in Jamaica. PIX 11 reports that when Gibbon’s body was found, she had no purse or identification on her person.
The New York Daily News reports that Gibbon’s father is a native of Jamaica and that his mother owns an inn, Gibb’s Chateau, in Montego Bay. Her parents arrived in the country on November 29. The tabloid reports that Gibbon was due to fly back to New York on November 28 in order to work at a record label that was run by a friend. Although her mother, Andrea Cali-Gibbon, told ABC New York, that her daughter was close to landing a job at the time of her death.” Cali-Gibbon added, “She has family down there. She has cousins. She met a lot of new people that she had been hanging out for the last three weeks or so. So, she was comfortable with these new people she had met.”
2. Gibbon’s Mother Said ‘Devastated’ Doesn’t Even Begin to Describe How She Feels
Andrea Cali-Gibbon, told the Daily News, “We were very close, so you can imagine, when I got the news, ‘devastated’ doesn’t begin to describe it… The brutality is what killed me. She was beaten and had her throat sliced open… She was a tough cookie. I know she fought until she drew her last breath. I know she did. And I’m certain that her last thought was’ ‘Will my mom be OK if I don’t make it?’”
A Go Fund Me page has been setup to help Gibbon’s family pay for her funeral. It was said up by the victim’s aunt, Peggy Brunner. At the time of writing, the page has raised over $18,000. The goal has been set at $20,000. Brunner told NBC New York, “God is my witness, whoever did this is going to pay.”
A friend named Bianca Pappas wrote a tribute to Gibbon on Facebook saying, “I love you Désirée Gibbon forever and always! Your beautiful spirit will live on forever. You have given me the best memories and I thank god I had a friend like you! Loyal, loving and the funniest girl around. Here’s just a few great memories miss you desi #ripbeautiful.”
Gibbon’s boyfriend, Phil Rodriguez, told PIX 11, “Her smile could just melt somebody, like a Colgate ad. It would sparkle, you know?” Rodriguez wrote in his tribute to Gibbon on her Go Fund Me page, “Desi. My perfect angel from creation. I am honored to have loved you. You made my life. I will love you forever.”
3. Gibbon Was a Model, Beauty Pageant Contestant & Appeared on Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues
Gibbon was a model, beauty pageant contestant and her youth appeared in an episode of Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues. Her mother told the Daily News that her daughter “wanted to travel to countries and try things and experience cultures.” Cali-Gibbon added that Gibbon wanted to work as a bartender on the island as a means to save money to attend film school in Europe. In a separate interview with ABC New York, Cali-Gibbon said, “She had planned to go to film school. She wanted to direct movies. But she wanted to earn money for it, she didn’t want us to pay for it. She wanted to make it on her own.” NBC New York reports that Gibbon graduated from WVU with a degree in broadcast journalism.
In the summer of 2014, Gibbon went on a anti-smoking awareness national tour organized by anti-tobacco group Truth. Also in 2014, Gibbon competed in Miss New York as part of the Miss USA pageant.
4. There Has Been No Word From Jamaican Police About an Arrest in the Case
Loop Jamaica reports that there have been no arrests in the murder nor has a motive been established. Her mother told the Daily News that Gibbon “didn’t venture out on her own. It was somebody she trusted.” Speaking to ABC New York, Gibbon’s mother said, “She never traveled by herself. She didn’t leave the hotel by herself. She always left with somebody. They would take a car service provided by the hotel and the same driver would take them and drop them and bring them back.”
Cali-Gibbon later told NBC New York, “I’m hoping that in her fight she has obtained some DNA, whether under her fingernails, on her body or her teeth, somewhere.”
5. Americans Have Long Been Warned About the Risks of Traveling to Jamaica
The U.S. Department of State has long warned U.S. citizens of the dangers of traveling to Jamaica. However, most of the violent crime is associated with the island’s capital, Kingston and suburb, New Kingston. Although warnings do include the country’s main tourist area, Montego Bay. Despite the high murder rate in the country, as World Nomads points out, tourists are far more likely to be a victim of petty theft than a violent attack.
On the weekend of Gibbon’s murder, the Western Mirror reported that in total 12 people had been killed in four days in the area.