For the past two months, the family of Desiree Gibbon has been reduced to an elongated state of grief after learning that the 26-year-old Queens native was murdered during her vacation in Jamaica in a crime that has yet to be solved. This makes it particularly eerie that Gibbon’s aunt, Peggy Burner, received the call on Sunday (Jan. 28) from her dead niece’s cell phone.
“I got goosebumps from my head to toes,” Burner described to The New York Daily News after seeing her cell phone light up with the nickname of her deceased niece.
Yet as she answered the phone which rang at precisely 5:26 p.m., she was met with a strange silence and after she missed another call from Gibbon’s phone at 11:43 p.m., Burner called the number back only to be notified that her niece’s phone is not working.
These calls seem like more than a creepy coincidence, as Gibbon was last seen by surveillance cameras leaving her family owned hotel in St. James Parish carrying only her American cell phone, which was not on her when her bloody body was found along the bushes of a local road on Nov. 26.
And despite the Jamaican police insisting in December that they are searching for a person of interest, pairing the high murder rate of places like the nearby Montego Bay with the authorities’ emphasis on merely recovering Gibbon’s cellular device, leaves her family feeling frustrated.
“They didn’t think it would help solve the crime,” said the victim’s mother, Andrea Cali-Gibbon, of the provided surveillance footage. “They’re only focused on the phone.”
This irritation led the family to hypothesize their own motives for the murder of the aspiring model and documentary filmmaker.
With gang violence on the rise throughout the island, even leading to the U.S. issuing a travel warning, many Americans have been victims of money motivated crimes. But with the circumstances surrounding Gibbon’s murder calling no attention to her valuables as just her phone was missing, her mother suspects something more sinister.
“It was calculated. She wasn’t robbed. She wasn’t taken for ransom,” Cali-Gibbon explained. “I think she learned something, I don’t know what, and I think they shut her up.”