Memorial Mass marks 5 years since NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia killed in the Bronx

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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Tuesday marks five years since NYPD officer Miosotis Familia was gunned down while sitting in a patrol vehicle in the Bronx. Darla Miles has more.

MIDTOWN (WABC) -- Tears were overflowing at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown as hundreds attended a memorial Mass, marking the fifth anniversary of the murder of Detective Miosotis Familia.

Familia's grief-stricken daughter, Genesis Villela, says the trauma of her mother's murder is still raw.

"I can't even begin to explain how harrowing this has been for me, how torturous this has been for me and my family," Villela said.

She says she and her siblings are trying to live their lives in a way that would make their mother proud.

But, Genesis says the pain of their loss has been made worse by their ongoing fight for their mother's pension.

A loophole in the state's pension law only provides death benefits for the children of single parents until the age of 18, where the children of married fallen officers or the parents of fallen of officer receive the pension for the rest of their lives.

"Something has to be tweaked at the federal level too. So we're working on it. We're talking about it," said Vudela Tapia of the New York State Assembly.

When Det. Familia was ambushed and shot in the head in 2017, at the time, she was only the third woman to die in the line of duty, and the first single mom. Villela had to drop out of college, to raise her younger siblings.

"I made a promise to my mom that I would take care of my brother and sister," Villela said. "I love my brother and sister like my own children."

She's the sole guardian of her siblings, 17-year-old twins Peter and Delilah.

Thankfully, Familia's children did receive a mortgage, tax free home from the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, as does every other New York City first responder. But the need is much greater when children are orphaned.

"It's time for us, for other children, that line of duty children receive the same courtesy and protection that every other line of duty does," Villela said.

Familia was just 48-years-old when she was shot in the head while sitting in a mobile command unit in the Bronx in 2017.

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