An aspiring actress and model from Queens who was visiting the island of Jamaica was found dead with a slit throat on a rural road a few miles from the country's biggest resort town, according to the woman’s family.
Desiree Gibbon's mother and aunt told News 4 New York that the 26-year-old’s body was found on the side of a road in Anchovy, a small town near Montego Bay, on Saturday morning.
The Daily News, which first reported Gibbon’s death, said when her body was found in the bushes off the road, it was caked with blood. Gibbon's family told News 4 that police said her throat had been slit and it appeared she had fought with her attacker.
"I'm hoping that in her fight she has obtained some DNA, whether under her fingernails, on her body or her teeth, somewhere," said her mother, Andrea Gibbon.
Family said they found out about Gibbon’s death after authorities showed her photo to a family member, who owns the Montego Bay hotel where she was staying.
Family members said she was planning on scouting talent in the area for a friend in New York, but she was killed before she got that chance.
It’s not clear why she was killed and no arrests have been made in the case.
"God is my witness, whoever did this is going to pay," said the 26-year-old's aunt, Peggy Brunner.
Gibbon, the oldest of three girls, had traveled to the country on Oct. 20 and had a three-month visa to stay in the country, according to the family. The West Virginia University graduate had been working as a bartender in Jamaica to save up to go back to school to become a documentary filmmaker, but was set to come home on Thursday.
Gibbon's family now has to travel to the Caribbean island to retrieve her body. They left Friday morning to catch a flight to the country. Gibbon's mother says an autopsy on her daughter may not be performed until next week and may take even longer to issue a death certificate, which is a necessary step in the process of bringing her body home.
"She's currently being kept at a funeral home," her mother said. "We'll go there. I don't know how that will be. My understanding is that she was beat up pretty bad."
She attended St. Francis Preparatory School and Cardozo High School in Queens and graduated from WVU with a degree in broadcast journalism.
The 26-year-old's aunt created a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses and to have Gibbons' body brought back to New York City. So far, almost $20,000 has been contributed to the cause.