One-year-anniversary of toddler's shooting death

Posted at 11:33 PM, Apr 19, 2016

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- This week marks the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of 2-year-old Ma’Keila Burkes.

In April 2015, Ma’Keila was in the care of friends close to her mother at the friend's Fort Pierce home. Police said a drive-by shooter fired at the home, killing Ma’Keila inside.

The pain is still unbearable for Ma’Keila’s mother, Melissa Burkes.

“I still feel like it was yesterday to be honest. I cry every day, I cry every day. This isn’t something I can just get over,” Burkes cried.

Burkes spoke to the media for the first time Tuesday since her daughter died.

“I just miss her voice, I miss her being around. It’s hard to sleep at night knowing that she always slept on my chest,” Burkes said.

Solving Ma’Keila’s murder has been a top priority for Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney since she took office last year.

“It touched my heart to see the violence that was in this city,” Hobley- Burney said. She explained no child should ever be the victim of this kind of gun violence.

One year later, however, the case remains unsolved with no arrests and no suspects.

“We’re closer than we were when it happened. But, we’re still far [away],” said Lead Detective, Jesse Streeter.

Streeter says over the last year, he has interviewed at least 50 people who he hoped would have information to lead to Ma’Keila’s killer.

“There’s countless nights that I’m up working this case,” Streeter said.

He says an unfounded fear of retaliation in the community is keeping the people who know who the shooter is from telling police.

“I’ve never investigated a case where someone got hurt for coming forward,” Streeter said.

Burkes says she knows someone at the home where Ma’Keila was staying, or in the community, knows who fired the deadly shot.

She hopes this is the year they come forward.

“This case could have already been solved if the people that were there would just, you know, speak up,” Burkes said.

There is still a $10,000 reward being offered through Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers for information that leads to an arrest and prosecution of Ma’Keila’s killer.

You can contact Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-273-TIPS (8477).