By Shari Howard McMinn
A few weeks shy of her 19th birthday, she was murdered in a probable drug cartel hit. The man who was her supplier was also murdered. Two high-school-age young men were arrested, then court proceedings began. Court dragged on for two horrendously long years. I don’t know how we survived it but for Gods’ amazing grace. Our life was in limbo and we could barely function. The young men, tried as adults, finally agreed to plea bargains which thankfully spared our family from two separate, three-week jury trials.
Mind you, at this point in time, I had become a widow who was navigating single parenting my three youngest of 11 children, all teens and reaching out to my grieving adult children who missed their younger sister. A single working parent, who homeschooled my kids, managed a farm, ran two support groups – and I had to sit through endless hours of court hearings while the defendants’ attorneys finagled one continuance delay after another! Thankfully, we had friends and family who attended court with us and more who were praying constantly for us.
The toughest part was hearing the expert testimony of how my daughter was murdered. She and her dealer were ambushed, each hit in the back of the head with a large machete-like knife. The force to my daughter’s head was so hard that it smashed her face against the ground, crushing both the front and back of her skull. Their bodies were partially burned then dumped. By the time Destiny’s body was found in an abandoned hog barn, insects had devoured her flesh. She was unrecognizable, identified only through dental records proven by her orthodontic work and a capped tooth.
Toward the end of the hearings, I decided my teens should attend the court proceedings with my adult sons and me, so they could see the murderers themselves and hear from the attorneys and witnesses themselves. It was so hard on all of us – yet we sat there and did our duty, proving, once again, how much we were willing to sacrifice for our Destiny. Often a challenge to love because of her trauma background, we loved her more than words could express.
In the end, both young men were sentenced to multiple decades in state prisons. If they survive prison, they will be late middle-aged upon release, and I will have gone to glory in Heaven. One will be remanded to federal authorities upon release and deported back to Mexico because of the murder conviction he pled guilty to.
All told, my daughter cost the State of Colorado millions of taxpayer dollars during her life for health care, therapies, court proceedings, et al. She was worth it, but how much better would it have been for her to have been born and raised by stable and loving biological parents? Addiction costs us. Family dysfunction costs us. Crime costs us. As a society, when will we all once again tell our children they are loved, treat them that way, teach them to get an education, live on the straight and narrow path, delay childbearing until they are married, and enjoy a safe and stable life as adults? The outcome then would be each generation repeating this positive cycle providing for their own children. How much better would that be for each family, each community, and our whole state?
My fellow Coloradoans, we must kick out the organized crime that is infiltrating every Colorado community, encouraging each other to do right by our families and society. The cost of crime is just too high. The heartbreak is just too great.
Destiny was a professing Christian who bore fruit in her life. I firmly believe she is in Heaven with her Savior Jesus. Only God determines our death date. Unfortunately, our sins can determine the way we die. I rest in the hopeful promise that I will see her again as my fellow sister in Christ. Yet, I will carry the memories of her painful early childhood, the arduous years of raising her, and her tragic death with me every day for the rest of my life.
Thank you for reading my family’s story of heartbreaking loss. Please pray for the children who are living with abuse and neglect because of the insidious drug culture and its related human trafficking. Act today by, 1) contacting your elected representatives to express your anger that we have open national borders which are not stopping evildoers from entering and enticing our precious family members to become addicts who abandon their families. 2) Registering to vote then cast your ballot for change in November. 3) Considering foster care and adoption or support another family who is providing such care. The future of our nation depends on you!
Questions? Contact me through my website, www.ShariMcMinn.com.
Thank You, Miss Shari.
Remember, Jesus Loves You, and Jesus is Lord!