Homestead - South Dade

Pregnant mother found dead in field near Homestead

A woman was found dead May 22, 2019 in Homestead.
A woman was found dead May 22, 2019 in Homestead. CBS4

Miami-Dade police homicide detectives on Friday continued to investigate the shooting death a pregnant mother of two whose body was found in a Homestead park early Wednesday morning.

Neighbors say children walking to school were the first ones to find 21-year-old Kerica Nelson’s body in the park next to the Verde Gardens housing complex. Police responded around 8:30 a.m. Officials have not said if there are any suspects.

Nelson was eight months pregnant, family said.

“She’s just always been that person that loves family. She loved her family,” Sonya Williams, Nelson’s aunt, told WSVN. “She was a very caring young lady. When it came to her kids, she was very supportive. She was a great mother.”

Miami-Dade police spokesman Officer Angel Rodriguez said Friday that detectives had no new information about the murder.

“Unfortunately, we don’t,” he said.

Late Thursday morning, neighbors gathered on the street and discussed not only the murder of Nelson, who they said largely kept to herself, but also what they say are the deteriorating safety conditions of the government housing neighborhood.

Cops standing 2.jpg
Miami-Dade police officers talk on Thursday, May 23, behind a house on Southwest 126th Court where Kerica Nelson, 21, lived. She was shot and killed Wednesday, and her body was found in a park in the Homestead subdivision of Verde Gardens. David Goodhue/dgoodhue@flkeysnews.com

The single-story attached homes have beige, stucco exteriors, with small, manicured front-yard lawns. They look as typical and safe as any community in Florida, but looks in this case are deceiving, residents there say.

“This is just a shocker. I came home from work that morning, and I was sitting on the porch and I just heard the lady that she lives with screaming,” said neighbor Cellita Ceran. “I was on the other side of the street, and I was like, ‘a kid got hit or something.’ Once I went to the other side of the road, I could see her screaming and falling down. So, I ran over to comfort her and see what was going on, and that’s when we see the body.”

Ceran said Nelson was found in the park next to the neighborhood in an area residents call “the butterfly garden.”

“The only thing that is strange, is she lives here and she got led all the way over there,” Ceran said. “People do meet people over there, but that time of the night, it’s strange.”

Another neighbor, who did not want to be named, said her 10-year-old son found Nelson’s body when he was walking to school.

“It’s not even right what happened to her,” the woman said. “This is not a safe community anymore. My baby’s 10-years old. You know what kind of trauma this is going to do to my son?”

The woman and Ceran said the neighborhood’s street lamps don’t work anymore, and security guards who used to patrol there don’t anymore because neighbors complained that they harassed residents rather than keep an eye out for trouble makers.

“How many more people are going to have to get killed before they’re going to protect us,” the woman said.

“There are a lot of things that concern us as residents,” Ceran said.

The other neighbor not only mourns for Nelson, who she said was “a calm, cool girl,” but also for her unborn baby “that had nothing to do with anything.”

“It’s not fair,” she said.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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