Crime Stoppers: Pregnant woman and boyfriend set on fire in St. Pete

4:27 PM, Jun 7, 2010   |    comments
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Mishell McDaniels

St. Petersburg, Florida - The girl with the bright smile and mothering instinct wanted to be a nurse.

It was Mishell McDaniels' passion, her family says.  She had a knack for taking care of people.  In fact, her father, Milton, was her best friend. 

The two had such a close relationship that she called him "Milt" instead of "Dad."  They would often shop together and enjoy lunch.  "She never hurt anyone," he says.  "She was my baby, a daddy's girl."

And the 19-year-old was thrilled to be having a baby herself.  She was three months pregnant and couldn't wait to be a mother. Sadly, Mishell's child would never be born. It would remain in her womb until the very end.

In February 2008, 19-year-old Mishell and her friend 26-year-old Jabar McNair, were murdered. The two were not only killed, but they were burned to death and left inside a maroon Ford Expedition behind a St. Pete strip mall.

The killers have never been caught, and the family is desperate for answers.

Previous Story: Pregnant woman burned to death

Their bodies of Mishell and Jabar were discovered behind a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in the Tyrone Gardens Shopping Center on 58th Street North. But detectives on the case believe that the crime actually began a mile away, near 5th Avenue South.

"That's what people want.  People want closure. They want answers. They want to know why things are that nature," says Major Mike Kovacsev. "This seems to be something more planned out."

Even after all this time, detectives are still shocked by the brutality of the crime after the couple was shot, set on fire and left to die.

Major Kovacsev tells us, "The biggest thing is to bring someone accountable for what happened... at least answer the unanswered questions."

Milton McDaniels doesn't understand why someone would hurt his baby girl.

"I know her.  She didn't bother nobody.  She always wanted to do best in life. I feel sick, numb.  It's a sickness... I have no words in life to say," Milton says.

Detectives believe the crime actually began a mile away when someone began arguing with them before the murder.

Now, cops say, it's a matter of finding the people who did this and making an arrest to bring the families of both victims some peace.

Even though they know it will not bring Mishell and Jabar back, relatives need closure.

"When you lose a child, that's a hurt that will never go away," Milton says. "When you love someone and break up, that'll go away.  When you lose a kid, that love will never go away, will never go away."

"Every family misses a loved one. These families are hurting and they definitely would like the people or person responsible to be held accountable. Their lives were definitely cut short," says St. Pete detective Gary Gibson.

If you have any information, there is $1,000 being offered as a reward in this case, and there will be no questions asked of your identity.

To read more about the case, visit the Crime Stoppers of Pinellas County website.

Melanie Brooks, 10 Connects

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