Family deals with murder of mother of three

Latoya McNeil
December 6, 2012 2:11:30 PM PST
Garner police are still searching for suspects in the murder of a young mother of three.

Meanwhile, her family is wondering how they're going to help her children get through this difficult time.

Flowers, candles and balloons mark the spot where 31-year-old Latoya McNeil lost her life last Friday evening.

"This is a major loss because we lost a very good woman, because she was the epitome of a single mother working and trying to make things come about for her kids," said family friend Vince Coleman.

McNeil was gunned down outside her Garner apartment Nov. 30 after returning home from watching her son play in a middle school basketball game. Her aunt and boyfriend who live next door were first on the scene.

"We jumped up and I mean, literally within seconds we were out the door and it was all over," said Coleman.

They found McNeil lying lifeless on the ground. Her mother, 48-year-old Angela Harding, was also hit by the barrage of bullets on the sidewalk. However, she survived.

McNeil was working at the Garner Academy Preschool with two year olds. Now, her former employer and coworkers are asking parents and members of the community to make donations of gifts or cash so that they can then provide Christmas gifts for McNeil's three children.

And it's for those young boys, ages 12, 9 and 5, that family members are especially hoping for justice.

"We're hoping that the people that did this, the people that were involved with this, will come forward because you left three children without their mother," said Coleman.

McNeil's family doesn't believe she was the intended target, but Garner police can't comment on that pending their ongoing investigation. They are asking the public to contact them with any information.

McNeil's funeral will be Saturday at Springfield Baptist Church on Auburn-Knightdale Road.

Anyone who wants to contribute to a Christmas fund for McNeil's sons can do so through the Garner Academy Preschool by calling (919) 239-6299, or by dropping off donations at 901 Aversboro Road.

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