MIAMI, Fla. – A $7,000 reward to help find the person responsible for a woman’s death a year ago was announced Wednesday.
Melissa Gonzalez was 22-years-old when she was shot and would have been 24 Wednesday. She was driving on Interstate 95 on Jan. 3 when she was struck by a stray bullet.
Her mother, Sheilla Nunez said the pain of losing her daughter remains as searing as the moment she learned from police that Gonzalez was dead.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Gonzalez was shot on Jan. 3 while driving south on I-95, near the 79th Street exit in the West Little River neighborhood.
Gonzalez’s boyfriend, identified by troopers as Julian Veliz Cortina, 26, was also in the car and heard a gunshot. He said he looked over and saw she had been hurt.
A lead detective on the case said Gonzalez may have been hit by a stray bullet coming from gunfire on a nearby surface street.
An unsolved case, Nunez has turned her attention to Florida Department of Transportation’s highway cameras, a network of eyes on the road that she hoped could lead investigators to find who was responsible for her daughter’s death. She learned however, that the cameras only livestream video and that they do not record it.
Could changing that help police generate leads in future cases?
U.S. Representative Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL District 27) is working with Nunez on her quest for justice.
FDOT tells Local 10 News’ Christina Vazquez the live real-time traffic monitoring cameras help first responders with situational awareness.
They also say the “traffic monitoring cameras are generally very high in the air and do not have a stationary 360-degree view, meaning they are pointed in one direction at a time, typically based on the specific traffic incident needs at that time.”
Adding that while the CCTV cameras do monitor live real-time traffic with information often shared with law enforcement partners recording would be “inefficient” and “administering and storing these videos would require additional resources as well as increased bandwidth and storage requirements, all of which would need to be budgeted for by the appropriate agency(ies).”
You can read FDOT’s full statement below:
“If it’s cameras or it’s finding Google or it’s talking to the local residents — it is whatever we need to do for this not to happen again,” Salazar said while outside of where a church service was held Wednesday in honor of Gonzalez.
At the church, Nunez with her family by her side, said a prayer on Melissa’s birthday. As Nunez adapts to the role of public safety advocate, she remains a grieving mom with a heart of hope. Nunez is planning on meeting with police Thursday for a case update.
Miami Crimestoppers is offering $5,000 towards the $7,000 reward, while Nunez has added $2,000.
She is begging someone to come forward with information to help police solve her daughter’s case.
If you have any information, please call Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-8477.