(MOBILE, Ala.) - Mobile police were called to Azalea Point Apartments after the discovery of a body Monday evening.
And what they found was a young mother, shot to death, with her two young children alive next to her.
Police are now on the hunt for Cynthia McCoy's killer.
Kim Hamilton met 23-year-old Cynthia McCoy when both rented places here at French Quarter Apartments.
And for whatever reason, they hit it off.
"She was a beautiful child," she said, "who was trying to be a woman."
A woman, Kim admits, that was having a rough go of it.
According to Kim, as a child, Cynthia was bounced from foster home to foster home, then became a mother when she was very young.
And Monday night, the young mother died a violent death in an apartment she rented close by.
"And whoever did this got her when she was finding a better way," said Kim, sobbing.
And that's what tortures Kim the most.
Cynthia, she says, wanted a better life, was trying to make one, Kim could see that.
"Steps and strides, visible efforts with visible results," she lamented. "Because I hear it all the time. I'm gonna do this, Miss Kim, and I'm gonna do that and this is why this happened, and Cynthia wasn't like that."
What haunts Kim even more is the fact that Cynthia's two toddlers were found beside her body, themselves covered in blood. She cleaned them up and cared for them, much like she often did when her friend was alive. But they had their disagreements. It was just Friday that Cynthia had asked Kim to walk with her and her children to the grocery store, an offer Kim declined.
"Do you know what I would give right now... to have that walk with her?," she said. "Because the lesson now has no point, no value, no meaning, do you understand? Because I was trying to give her a lesson. That's why I didn't go with her."
Now the only thing she can do is talk about her friend in hopes that someone who knows who did this will come forward.
"She needed what all of us need, somebody to validate who we are," she said, he voice choked with emotion. "I don't care who you are, but we all need someone to say, 'yes, you matter'."