Bouncy beats and beaming photos greeted dozens of loved ones who turned out to pay their respects to a Queens woman found murdered in Jamaica, according to reports here.
A stream of hip hop music muffled quiet cries, as friends and family members of Desiree Gibbon filed past her closed casket inside Dalton’s Funeral Home in New Hyde Park, Long Island, a New York City suburb, the New York Daily News reported.
The Daily News report said surrounding the coffin were photos of the globe-trotting Hollis, Queens woman hand-gliding off the coast of Brazil and holding a drink inside a boat with the Statue of Liberty looming behind her.
Gibbon’s mother said the mood at her 26-year-old daughter’s wake was uplifting, by design.
“Instead of sitting around crying, we wanted it to be about her life,” Andrea Cali-Gibbon told the Daily News. “It’s through the strength of these people who know and loved her that I find the strength.”
Desiree Gibbon’s brutalized body was found Nov. 26 in the brush alongside an overgrown rural road in St. James Parish, about four miles from the popular tourist town of Montego Bay, the Daily News said.
The paper said Gibbon’s throat was slashed and her torso and wrists were covered in bruises — indicating that she struggled with her killer.
Cali-Gibbon said investigators had found surveillance footage showing Desiree walking along a road — and were interviewing cab drivers.
The mother said her daughter went to Jamaica in search of work to save money for film school.
Residents spotted the woman’s blood-caked body in the bushes and alerted the police, according to the News’ report, which quoted Cali-Gibbon as not being able to fathom how her daughter met a violent end in such a beautiful paradise.
“The brutality is what killed me. She was beaten and had her throat sliced open,” the grieving mother said.
“She was a tough cookie,” the mom added. “I know she fought until she drew her last breath. I know she did. And I’m certain that her last thought was, ‘Will my mom be okay if I don’t make it?’”
The News said Gibbon’s grandmother owns a hotel in Jamaica, and added that the victim stayed there while she looked for bartending work. The young beauty contestant arrived in Jamaica on Oct. 20, the paper said. Cali-Gibbon said her daughter hoped to save money to attend film school in Europe.
Cali-Gibbon said she believes the killer lured her daughter away from the hotel.
“She didn’t venture out on her own. It (her killer) was somebody she trusted,” the mom told the Daily News.
According to the report, Jamaican authorities identified Gibbon’s body by taking her photo to resorts in the Montego Bay area, adding that one of the hotels was the inn her grandmother owns.