SWEETWATER, Fla. – Ten days ago, a burnt body that turned up next to a dumpster behind a shopping plaza in Sweetwater was identified as that of a missing 17-year-old girl.
Police would later identify the girl as Romina Fernandez, a former Miami Killian Senior High student, who had diabetes. She was born in Uruguay and was raised in Miami.
Romina had two little sisters, ages 9 and 5. On Monday, they were getting ready for her 11 a.m. service at Our Lady of Divine Providence Catholic Church, 102205 W. Flagler St.
Romina was "kidnapped, tortured and murdered," Basheer Mustafa said on the GiveForward page he set up to help her family.
Mustafa, the owner of Quick Pik, the neighborhood's store, knew Romina, because she was polite and friendly when she visited the store. He organized a Sunday fundraiser at a park to help Romina's family cover the cost of the cremation and service, and to keep them from being homeless.
Romina's family was renting a mobile home, when that wasn't allowed at at the Li'l Abner Mobile Home Park, 11239 NW 4th Terrace, in Miami. Mustafa learned Romina's mom, Andrea Perez, got an eviction letter, as she dealt with the loss of her daughter.
Perez reported her daughter missing Oct. 11. She had not come home the night before and had left her insulin at home.
"Hi mom, I'm O.K. I'm moving to New York with a friend. Don't worry."
That was the text message Perez got from her daughter's phone a few days before police found her remains. The medical examiner's office identified the remains as that of Romina's.
Days later, Perez received a handwritten letter.
"Hola Mami. I'm O.K. I'm going to New York with a friend. He bought me food and my medicine. Don't worry. I will cal you in a month."
Perez told police about the letter. Miami-Dade police are investigating but have not made any arrests in the case. Police were asking anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
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