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Man accused of stabbing Hillsborough mom repeatedly threatened suicide, family says

TAMPA — Taneka Humphrey and Manuel Santiago dated only seven months.

But even that short time was marked by his recurring suicide threats, intervention by authorities, her offer to take him in despite the troubles — and ultimately her murder at his hands, deputies and family members said.

Santiago, 24, was being held without bail at a Hillsborough County jail on Sunday night, charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary.

Hillsborough County deputies said Santiago slipped into Humphrey's Bavarian Village apartment north of the University of South Florida on Saturday morning and stabbed her to death.

He then injured himself and was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. A photo taken when he was booked into the jail Sunday night shows he had slashed his throat.

Humphrey's sister, Kisha Humphrey, said Santiago had threatened suicide several times before.

Finally, in January, she said, her sister had it when he pulled a knife and said he'd kill himself in front of Taneka Humphrey's daughter and niece.

Authorities took Santiago into custody, Kisha Humphrey said, under the state's Baker Act that allows a subject to be temporarily held if he poses a threat to himself or others.

But Taneka Humphrey, 27, was a loving woman, her sister said. And though she had her doubts, she gave Santiago a place to stay while he recovered.

"My sister was afraid of what he would do, but she had a big heart and didn't want to see him on the streets, so she took him in," Kisha Humphrey said.

But then another suicide threat was too much. Taneka Humphrey kicked him out before the end of the month.

On Saturday, just days after Santiago had tried to apologize to Humphrey in person, he showed up at her apartment again.

Deputies say he used a key to enter the apartment without permission while she slept. He pulled a knife and slit Humphrey's throat before cutting his own, they said.

A witness, who was sleeping in another room, woke up and went to Humphrey's bedroom, where he saw Santiago standing next to the bed with a knife in his hand and blood coming from his neck, deputies said.

The witness shouted at him and then held the door shut from the outside until deputies arrived.

Humphrey's 3-year-old daughter from another relationship was sleeping in the apartment at the time.

Humphrey's world revolved around her daughter, her family said Sunday as they gathered at her mother's Tampa home.

"Her daughter was her life," Kisha Humphrey said. The 3-year-old is now staying with her father.

Taneka Humphrey was going to school to earn her master's degree; she wanted to work in business administration.

She was a stay-at-home mom and a stay-at-home aunt, too.

"If my kids had anywhere they had to be, she was right there for them," Kisha Humphrey said.

Taneka Humphrey met Santiago through his brother, whom she had taken in when he had nowhere to go, Kisha Humphrey said.

"She was so sweet and would do anything for anyone," said her mother, Diane Humphrey.

It was a blessing and a curse.

"She didn't deserve this," Kisha Humphrey said. "I hope other people learn that when you see the signs of violence, don't ignore it."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3374.

Man accused of stabbing Hillsborough mom repeatedly threatened suicide, family says 02/06/11 [Last modified: Sunday, February 6, 2011 10:00pm]
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