GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — The family of 45-year-old Daytona Thomas can't believe the Garfield Heights mother of five is gone, found shot to death in a second floor bedroom of her home by her daughter on Aug. 26.
Garfield Heights police have ruled the case a homicide, and are holding a 36-year-old Cleveland man in connection with the case, but he has yet to be charged.
Noemi Ortiz, the mother of Daytona Thomas, told News 5 she doesn't understand why someone would want to take her daughter's life in such a violent way.
"My granddaughter ran over there, she walked in the house and she was looking for her mom, she opened the bedroom door and she was laying on the floor," Ortiz said. “This ending right here is too devastating for me, I just don’t understand, I don’t understand how this happened.”
Thomas' aunt, Alicia Phillips, said her niece always put her children first and always made everyone around her feel wonderful about themselves.
Phillips, who is the mother of three boys, said Thomas was the daughter she never had.
“When Noemi first had her it was like my daughter, she had my daughter for me," Phillips said. “She was a good girl, she was a happy girl, she always made you laugh.”
Garfield Heights police are working with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiners Office and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Police said Thomas had been shot multiple times.
Thomas' family has set-up a GoFundMe account to help her children and her family with expenses.
"It’s heart wrenching, it’s very heart wrenching," Ortiz said. “To me, right now, it seems like it’s not real, it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m just confused and hurt and overwhelmed."
“We didn’t expect this and it was horrible, it’s just a horrible situation.”