Seminole Heights victim’s father says in her honor, go hug your kids

TAMPA (WFLA) – The father of one of three victims in the Seminole Heights murders said his daughter loved everything there was about life.

“Monica was a wonderful person, a free spirit, had a smile that would brighten up any room. She loved poetry and she loved talking to her brothers and sisters and nieces,” said Kenny Hoffa, Monica’s father.

Monica, 32, was found dead on Oct. 13 in a vacant lot on East New Orleans Avenue. She was the second victim found in the same neighborhood within 10 days.

Monica grew up in Tampa with her mom and grandmother and she graduated from Gaither High School. Kenny ended up in South Carolina after the Navy, but said he spoke with his daughter often.

He said that Monica’s mother is deaf so she was active in the community.

“She had as many deaf friends, as she had hearing friends. She spoke Spanish and English, She could sign, she worked at the National Deaf Academy Conferences sometimes to volunteer. She did all kinds of things for her mother. She translated for her mother, she was just an awesome daughter,” Kenny said.

He said he couldn’t imagine what had happened to her. “Finding out she had been shot randomly by a lunatic is just more than somebody can bear.”

“I want to look at that man’s eyes and ask him how he could do something so terrible to my daughter,” Kenny said.

He said the killer must have a lack of respect for life to be able to shoot someone and just walk away.

Kenny is begging the Seminole Heights community to share any information on her killer with the police.

“Today in honor of Monica, we should go out and find somebody that we’re having a hard time with and forgive those people, thank God that they’re in your life. I think everyone should go and hug their child tonight, any children you have or your grandchildren, just hug them and tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you — and to that man who did this — God says I have to forgive you, but I pray to God that justice is served.”

Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed Thursday Oct. 19. The killer’s first victim, Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was killed waiting for the bus on Oct. 9.

A $25,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the shooting deaths of the three victims.

Anyone with any information regarding this case and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at or send a mobile tip using our P3 Tips mobile application, which is a free download for iPhones, iPads, and Droids.

MORE: Man with autism took wrong bus, became 3rd Seminole Heights murder victim

NO CLUES: Tampa chief says 2 recent unsolved murders are related

NEW: ‘Guardian Angels’ watch over Seminole Heights as search for killer continues provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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