MIAMI – The mother of a woman found dead after she tried entering the U.S. illegally is seeking a cause of death after hearing rumors that her daughter may have been killed.
At a news conference Thursday, Simone Jeanty said she heard that her daughter, Judith Valentin, may have been beaten and raped before being thrown overboard. Valentin, 24, paid someone to smuggle her from the Bahamas into the U.S.
Her body was found ashore in Palm Beach County. Jeanty said her daughter had wounds on her head.
"I loved my child. I loved her," Jeanty said through a translator. "I need to find out what happened."
All of the other people on the boat with Valentin have been detained or released.
Jeanty said Valentin was trying to come to South Florida to join her fiancé and pursue her dream as a nurse.
Jeanty will be in South Florida on a humanitarian visa for the next month.