• 54°

A year later, no answers in Rios death

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
SPENCER — Dee Rios never got to make up with her sister.
On the night of Nov. 11, 2010, Deyanira “Dee” Rios de la Cruz watched the Latin Music Awards with her family.
But one was missing. Her sister Marisol said she and Dee had been feuding and hadn’t spoken in two months.
“That weekend, I had planned to come home and visit my mom and my sister and apologize,” Marisol said. “But I didn’t get to do that.”
Dee was killed the next morning, a Friday, during an armed robbery at Latin Mix, 429 N. Salisbury Ave.
She wasn’t supposed to be there. The 20-year-old normally worked afternoons but had taken another clerk’s shift at the store so she could earn extra money to help her family move into a nicer home.
A year into the investigation, Dee’s murderer hasn’t been caught, though police say they’re following up on a recent lead.
Nothing has changed for the Rios family, Marisol said. They’re still living the nightmare that began at 7:54 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2010.
“My mom, my sister and my brothers — we live our lives now like we’re in a dream and hoping we’ll wake up to like it was before,” Rios said.
‘Why aren’t we at the hospital?’
Dee had been looking for employment for a while when she got the job at Latin Mix, which was formerly Real’s Varieties.
Her brother, David, had been working there part time while he was in school and spoke to management around May about hiring her.
“He helped her get that job,” Marisol recalled.
Marisol said the morning her sister was shot was one of the hardest of her life.
Marisol was on her way to court that morning when her brothers called and said she needed to come to the house immediately.
“They told me that I needed to come home cause something had happened,” she said.
As she drove into Spencer, police K-9 units combed the ground and a helicopter buzzed overhead for any sign of the suspect.
After being told her sister had been shot, Marisol said, her first thought was, “What are we doing? Why aren’t we at the hospital?”
Then she realized it was worse than she thought.
Dee hit the panic button just after being shot and lived long enough to describe the man who shot her to police. She died at Rowan Regional from a gunshot wound to the neck.
The man who killed her got away with $11.
‘It’s paramount’
With no answers, the Rios’ family is frustrated.
“There is not much going to happen because they haven’t focused on the problem,” Alicia Rios, Dee’s mother, said as Marisol translated. “I don’t think they are looking for any answers.”
Family members say they’ve been to the Spencer Police Department, but are often told officers are waiting for blood tests to come back.
“I think that they just tell us that so I think that they are investigating,” Alicia said.
Spencer Police Chief Michael James insists the case remains a priority for the department, but says its resources are limited.
“It’s paramount in my mind,” James said. “I hope that one day we will be able to bring this individual to justice who committed this crime.”
James said the department has just one full-time investigator. He said the FBI has been promising to help with the case for the last year, but has failed to do so.
James did not disclose what type of evidence the FBI has been working with, but said the agency promised him at the start of the investigation that services would be available within six months.
According to James, Melody Buba, a forensic video examiner for the FBI, has promised help, but has not provided any assistance to the department.
Buba responded in a voicemail message to requests for comment on Friday, but declined to comment, referring the Post to the FBI’s public affairs office.
“We still continue to follow leads as we get them,” James said. “We are pursuing a lead that we got in the last month. I don’t know where it’s going to take us and it’s very time consuming, I can tell you that.”
‘Like it happenedyesterday’
Marisol Rios said she’s regretted not apologizing to her sister every day since her death.
“It’s hard to explain it. But in simple words, the person that took my sister’s life changed my life in a whole different way,” she said. “They also took many things away from me.”
Her mother agreed and said the loss of her daughter is something that will always stay with her.
“I still feel very sad, even though it’s been a year,” Alicia Rios said. “I feel like it happened yesterday. I’ll still feel the same way forever.”
Investigators ask anyone with information about the murder to contact the Spencer Police Department at 704-633-3574 or Crimestoppers at 1-866-639-5245.
A $3,200 reward will be given to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs

Crime

Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday

Education

Schools capital funding still frozen as RSS sends local budget to county

Business

Shields, Cheerwine Festival receive N.C. Main Street Awards

Kannapolis

Duke University launches kidney disease study in Kannapolis for people of African descent

Education

Horizons Unlimited will hold in-person summer camps

Education

Education briefs: Catawba planning for more in-person activities, free summer school tuition

Coronavirus

County’s full COVID-19 vaccinations top 22,600

High School

High school golf: With Merrell, Mustangs back on top

Local

Spencer investigating rat problem on South Iredell Street

News

Livingstone, Mission House Church to host national ‘Black Voters Matter’ listening session

Education

Shoutouts

Business

Groundbreaking on Pennant Square signals next phase in downtown Kannapolis revitalization

Nation/World

J&J vaccine to remain in limbo while officials seek evidence

Nation/World

Prosecutors: No charges for officer in Capitol riot shooting

Nation/World

Biden to pull US troops from Afghanistan, end ‘forever war’

Nation/World

Former Minnesota cop charged in shooting of Black motorist

Crime

Blotter: April 14

Elections

Former North Carolina Gov. McCrory enters US Senate race

Crime

Salisbury woman arrested in Myrtle Beach for abducting child

Health

County updates health director job description, will advertise for position

High School

High school tennis: East beats Carson, still hopes to share NPC title

Elections

Board of Elections to purchase upgraded voting equipment using federal grant