A woman found dead as her toddler slept inside her SUV parked in a New Tampa neighborhood this week was a 22-year-old Chamberlain High School graduate who had another child on the way, her mother said.
Shahlevi Sims said her daughter Alana Sims loved being a mother to her young son and was five months pregnant with a second child.
“She no longer clubbed, she no longer went out to bars, she just loved spending time with her son,” Sims said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Now the family is waiting for news as police investigate who killed Sims and why.
Shortly after 10 p.m. on Monday, police were called to the 10700 block of Pictorial Park Drive, inside the Easton Park subdivision, after a passerby saw a woman lying on the ground. Officers found a woman’s body lying next to her Ford EcoSport. Her son was sleeping in a car seat in the back seat.
Police said the woman had trauma to her upper body but did not provide more details or release Sims’ name because of Marsy’s Law.
“We don’t believe it was random and we’re following up on a lot of leads right now,” interim police Chief Lee Bercaw told the Times on Tuesday. “The offense in itself is gutwrenching and I feel for the family and the community and even the officers who go out and respond to those types of calls.”
Shahlevi Sims said her daughter lived in the Carrollwood area and the family doesn’t know why she was in a neighborhood several miles away from home or who she might have met there. Sims said as far as she knew, her daughter wasn’t seriously dating anyone.
Sims said she talked to her daughter the day before she was found dead. Alana seemed fine and Sims said she told her daughter she would come visit her the next day.
Born and raised in Tampa, Alana Sims was the middle of three sisters. She was humble, caring and lovable, her mother said, a “happy” and “peaceful” person who didn’t like to argue.
“She would do anything for you, always going out of her way,” Sims said. “She never said no.”
As Sims spoke, her grandson was nearby, playing with toy cars. He’s fine, she said, too young to understand what’s happening. The boy is staying with his grandmother, who created a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for her daughter’s funeral.
“We just hope for justice and a conclusion,” Sims said. “All we can do now is move forward.”
Tampa police asked anyone with information on the case to call 813-231-6130 or share a tip through TIP411, accessible through the TampaPD mobile app.
Times Staff Writer Michaela Mulligan contributed to this report.