Wednesday marks two weeks since a Lowcountry’s man’s daughter was shot and killed at the hands of a suspected serial killer in Tampa, Florida.
The body of Monica Hoffa, 32, was found in a vacant lot in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa October 13. Her father, Kenny Hoffa, said she was shot October 11.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said Monica was the second victim of three who were shot to death in the last two weeks.
“You look through pictures and one minute you’re fine and laughing and then the next you just kind of want to cry,” Hoffa said Tuesday.
The last week and a half hasn’t been easy for Hoffa.
He said he found out about Monica’s death from his wife who was contacted by a Tampa reporter. This happened as he was driving south to celebrate his brother’s 50th birthday.
“She called me and asked me to pull over…” he said. “She told me that Monica had been killed.”
In that moment, Hoffa said his mind was racing, and then moved towards racing to Tampa.
“I went straight to her grandmother and grandfather’s house and met the family there,” he said. “It was really hard.”
Monica grew up and lived in Florida, but her father has lived in Huger for the last 25 years. He said she would come up to visit him and they’d explore the greater Charleston area.
“We went to Folly Beach, went downtown… just kind of hung out,” he said. “Went to the Hunley… the touristy thing I guess.”
When asked what was one thing that stood out to Monica when she visited, Hoffa said the beaches.
“She said the beaches here were really different from the beaches in Florida,” he said. “She said those beaches kind of look dirty, because there’s so much white sand in the Florida beaches. So I was like, no it’s just different.”
While he holds on to the memories of his daughter, he’s left with questions about what happened, and who the mysterious person is that was caught on surveillance cameras walking alone at night; Someone police think may be responsible for not only killing Hoffa’s daughter but two other men within a one-mile radius in the neighborhood.
“They need to take him off the street,” Hoffa said. “There are two other families that are suffering the same thing we’re dealing with right now. Somebody in that area knows what happened.”
Lula Mae Lewis, an 80-year-old woman who has lived in the area for 30 years, lives across the street from where Hoffa’s body was found.
“I heard the shots that Wednesday night,” she said. “But I was afraid to open my door because they were so loud, it sounded like it was just right here.”
According to Hoffa, his daughter had taken an Uber home after work with another woman.
“It dropped her off at the house after she had gone to the store,” Hoffa said. “She left her purse, wallet, all of that stuff on the bed and had texted a friend she was going to meet a friend. The police told me she was texting all the way up until the time she was killed.”
Hoffa added investigators told him the area where she was found was an overgrown lot, and when crews came to cut the grass in the area, they discovered her body.
“[The last time I talked to her] was the Friday before,” Hoffa said. “We talked a lot on Facebook and phone calls. I had sent this Halloween videos and it was one of those videos where it draws you in and then jumps out at you… She watched it on her break and texted me, ‘I hate you,’ and I thought it was funny. I said, ‘Did you jump?’ And she said, ‘Frick, yeah, I jumped.’ Scared her. We did stuff like that all the time.”
A memorial service for Monica will be held at Simplicity Lowcountry Cremation and Burial Services at 281 Treeland Drive in Ladson Saturday at 1 p.m.
Copyright 2017 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.