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Hollis woman found dead on Jamaica trip

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An aspiring actress and model from Hollis who went to the West Indian island of Jamaica to make a documentary and visit family was found dead Nov. 26, according to loopjamaica.com, a Caribbean breaking news website.

Desiree Gibbon, 26, was found on a road in the bushes of the rural town of Anchovy in the St. James parish section of the island beaten and with her throat slashed, according to investigators.

She attended Cardozo High School in Bayside and St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, according to social media posts.

Gibbon arrived on the island Oct. 20 and was given a three-month stay while living at her grandmother and uncle’s hotel in the resort town of Montego Bay. She was expected to fly back home to Queens Nov. 30, according to authorities on the island.

Family members said a friend offered her a job at a record label, which was bringing her back to New York.

The model was one of 12 people murdered over the weekend in St. James, according to Jamaican news site Western Mirror.

The Anchovy Police reported that a passerby stumbled across the blood-soaked Gibbon around 9:15 a.m. along Long Hill road.

Gibbon’s uncle was the one to identify the young woman from a photo the police had, according to investigators on the island.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help bring Gibbon back to the United States and pay for funeral expenses, according to the website. Within two days nearly 500 people raised $25,486 out of the $30,000 goal set by Gibbon’s aunt and uncle as of Dec. 1. The original benchmark was surpassed and 671 people raised $33,836 by Dec. 6. An additional $10,000 was added to the goal as reward money to help catch the killer, according to Gibbon’s aunt Peggy Brunner.

Friends of Gibbon said she was a fun-loving person with a great personality. She was a graduate of West Virginia University, where she obtained a degree in broadcast journalism.

The model competed as in a beauty pageant for Miss New York in 2014 and was a spokeswoman for the anti-tobacco Truth campaign.

“Everyone at Truth Initiative is saddened by the tragic events in Jamaica that claimed the life of our former colleague Desiree Gibbon,” said a spokeswoman for the Truth Initiative. “Through her work as a truth rider, we knew her as a valued friend and co-worker and she will be sorely missed. Our condolences go out to her family during what must be a very difficult time.”

Her parents left the morning of Dec. 1 to go to Jamaica to retrieve her body, but an autopsy was not scheduled to be performed until this week. They would still have to wait and receive a death certificate before Gibbon is brought home, according to her grieving mother, Andrea Cali-Gibbon.

Authorities in Jamaica have no motives for the murder and have made no arrests.

Authorities had notified Cali-Gibbon her daughter fought off her attacker and her mother hopes DNA evidence from the autopsy will help to catch the killer.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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