'She was a mother, daughter and friend': Family remembers murdered Fayetteville mom

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The family of 27-year-old Nakea Brooks is heartbroken.

"She was someone who was born and raised in Fayetteville at Cape Fear Valley. She was a mother, a daughter and friend," said Jessica Gordon, who was her cousin.

They say on Sunday Brooks dropped her 5-year-old daughter McKenzie off to her mother's home before hanging out with her boyfriend.

"She knew something was wrong when Brooks didn't come back to get her daughter. She already knew something had happened," said Tisha Mack.

Just after midnight Monday, Fayetteville Police responded to the 5700 block of Aftonshire Drive where they found a man and woman who had been shot. One died at the scene the other died at the hospital. Police identified the victims as 33-year-old Marshellous Braddy and Brooks was identified as the woman. The family told ABC11 the pair, Braddy and Brooks, were dating.

"Her life was taken and that child's life was taken. Senselessly. Heartlessly. Cruel," said Gordon.

Officials say the suspect Rhaim Santiago was pronounced dead in Smithfield Tuesday morning.

According to family members, they believe the suspect is connected to Brooks boyfriend, but don't know for certain.

Meantime, they are grieving the irreplaceable loss of their loved one. As they figure out who will tell McKenzie her mother is gone forever.

They want her legacy remembered in the best way possible.

"Stop killing one another that's' my message. I want us to get help and therapy so another 5-year-old girl doesn't have to grow up without her mother like McKenzie will have to," said Gordon.
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