Each post in our Mile High Murder archive is heartbreaking. But the death of nineteen-month-old Mia McKoy-Phanthavongsa is among the most tragic we've ever recounted.
The working theory: Mia's father, Merrick McKoy, age 22, took a self-portrait of the two of them, posted it to Facebook, then killed the beautiful little girl before turning the gun on himself.
Details, photos and video below.
At 9:35 a.m. on Monday, November 18, according to the Westminster Police Department, officers were dispatched to an apartment at 7030 Stuart Street, an area captured in the interactive graphic below. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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Of the two calls to police about trouble at the address, one of them came from Kimphone "Kim" Phanthavongsa, Mia's 21-year-old mother. She told dispatch that she woke up to find McKoy, described as her ex-boyfriend, standing over her with a handgun.
The WPD notes that McKoy didn't live in the apartment -- and indeed, he had a restraining order against him that was intended to keep him a considerable distance away from it. As reported by 7News, the document was issued after a domestic violence episode that took place on September 27, several months after McKoy had filed a lawsuit calling for reallocation of parental rights. He was accused of trespassing, telephone harassment, burglary and assault in the incident and soon found himself behind bars. However, he subsequently posted a $20,000 bond and was set free.
The WPD release notes that "an altercation ensued" after Kim saw the armed McKoy. She escaped the situation by running to the home of a neighbor and immediately called the cops. But by the time the officers arrived, both Mia and McKoy were suffering from gunshot wounds. Mia was taken to St. Anthony North Hospital but didn't survive her injuries. McKoy did, but the most recent report we were able to find says he's in critical condition.
The story gets even more chilling after a visit to McKoy's Facebook page, which remains online at this writing under the name Type R Merrick; it's subtitled "(fuc kim)." A mobile post from Monday reads: "I told u I can't live without u lol u thought I was joking now me n Mia out this bitch."
Soon thereafter came this photo:
Two more mobile posts followed. The first reads, "Ima miss stall lol." The second states, "Don't judge me had no choice."
The Facebook response from McKoy's sister, Veleisha, conveys the shock and anger this horrible act brought while paying tribute to an "angel" taken far before her time.
Continue for more about the murder of Mia McKoy-Phanthavongsa, including photos and video. Here's a photo collage paying tribute to Mia:
Along with these images, and another collection below, Veleisha wrote:
I just found out. My brotherr shot mmmy baby neice. He alson shotn hiimself nnow on life support. My little MIA ii love you so much boo. I was so glad to called your aunt.you were the reasonn times I awlays wanted to die• you were on my mind. Ii wantd to grow up with yo. You were my first neice my brothers first daughter my mothers first grandgirl. She was so beautiful...I'm shaking my brains out I don't know if. I nshould be angry or sad.what could I have done different. How. Could I have loved her more. What wrrong with my family!!! -- feeling DEAD.
The police in Westminster stress that the investigation into the tragedy is ongoing, with "detectives and criminalists...currently working to determine exactly what occurred." But relatives told 7News that Kim had been planning to take Mia to Laos over Christmas to visit family members, and McKoy evidently objected to this plan -- in the most senseless manner imaginable.
Here's the 7News report.
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Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Update: Austin Sigg sentenced to life in prison for brutal murder of Jessica Ridgeway, ten."