PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The search is growing for the person who murdered a mother in front of two children Tuesday morning.
The shooting happened inside a home in New Port Richey.
Both from Brooklyn New York, Marie Hicks says she and Betsy Robles were inseparable and best friends for 24 years. Robles was her son’s godmother.
“We’re like two peas in a pod. Wherever you see me, you see her,” Hicks said. “She used to go way over beyond for my son until this day, before she passed, she called him her first son because she practiced with him.”
Hicks says they were more than best friends.
“She didn’t deserve this at all,” Hicks said. “She’s my sister.”
Hicks says Robles was the woman murdered Tuesday morning in New Port Richey.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting at a home on Menifee Court in New Port Richey at about 12:40 a.m. Tuesday.
Deputies say another woman was sleeping on the couch when she heard a knock on the door.
A man wearing a mask kicked the door in, pointed a gun at her then went to the bedroom where Hicks says her friend was sleeping with two children, including her son. The sheriff says she begged the man not to shoot her, but he shot her twice.
“I feel for her son,” Hicks said. “I feel for her. I try to picture what fear she felt at that moment.”
Detectives say that man ran out of the home and they believe he got into a car. They don’t believe the shooting was random.
“Just to know the trauma that these kids now have to live with,” Hicks said. “I can’t believe that someone will be so disgusting and cold-hearted to shoot a woman that’s defenseless in a bed with two children next to her.”
Hicks says she messaged Robles the day before to check on her. Robles called her later, but she missed her call.
“I regret not calling her back,” Hicks said. “I was like, I’ll call her tomorrow.”
She knows, unfortunately, there is no tomorrow. Hicks says she and the family want answers, but for now, she wants people to know who Robles was: a mother, daughter, sister and her best friend.
“All that girl did was go to work, visit her mother, go home, go to soccer with her kids,” Hicks said. “She was a soccer mom. That was her life. Her son was her life.”
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information about the man or the shooting to submit tips, either online at PascoSheriff.com/tips, or by calling 800-706-2488.