TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. — Danita Cuevas spent thanksgiving in Tampa remembering her son instead of eating with him.
"There's just this tightness [in my chest], this pain, and this emptiness, right here," she said.
That's after the Columbia County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) says her son, Kristian Lujan, was found dead November 14, on SW Harmony Lane near State Road 47 in Lake City.
"He left my baby on the side of a road. Like he was an animal," said Cuevas, crying.
And according to the CCSO, a rapper from Riverview, Javont'e Wilkins, is responsible for his murder.
Here is a release from the sheriff's office that was posted on November 15, 2021:
Detectives with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a homicide.
On Sunday November 14th shortly before 9:00 pm, deputies located the body of a 30-year-old male on SW Harmony Lane near State Road 47. The body was located after the suspect reported the incident to law enforcement authorities in a neighboring county. Since multiple jurisdictions and agencies are involved, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was requested to assist in the investigation.
The suspect has been identified as Javont’e Wilkins (29) of Hillsborough County, Florida. He was taken into custody in Hamilton County, Florida. The victim’s identity is not being released at this time.
In a statement, Sheriff Mark Hunter said, “This type of case is not common in our area. We want the public to know that we believe this is an isolated incident and there are no other threats to the public related to this incident. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners as we investigate this case.”
Additional details of the investigation will be forthcoming once further information is able to be released. At this time, the investigation is still active.
"I just want to know what happened to my baby," said Cuevas.
It's the question Cuevas is left asking herself because she says to her knowledge, her son didn't know Wilkins very well and she's not sure why they were up in North Florida to begin with.
"Please anybody. Like anybody that has any kind of information even if they think it's small, you know they have to say something so that these pieces of this puzzle can be put together and this person pays for what they did to my son," she said.
If you don't have any tips for law enforcement, the family says there is another way you can help. Because Kristian's death was so sudden, his family says they're struggling to cover the cost of his funeral.
They need to raise about eight thousand dollars to pay for his funeral by Wednesday, so they can hold services for him on Friday.
"I'm just having faith that, you know, that we're going to have the arrangements for him that we made on Friday," she said.
As she waits on answers, Cuevas says she is holding tight to the good times, like Kristian's recent 30th birthday.
"He was so happy that day. He went to the meat market and he sent me a picture. (laughs). And he was like 'Ma why ain't you tell me this place was so expensive?'" laughed Cuevas.
Because this is a case that spans several counties across our state, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken the lead on the investigation.
If you have tips that can help, you can call their Tampa office at (813) 878-7300.
And for more information on how to help the family with funeral arrangements, click here.