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‘Unimaginable tragedy.’ Friends remember woman killed with child in Kendall murder-suicide

In World
June 09, 2024

The scene of a gruesome West Kendall murder-suicide was still fresh with the remnants of the aftermath as newly placed flowers, balloons and candles adorned the Chase Bank ATM where a woman and child lost their lives Friday.

Bullet holes still marked the walls and small spots of blood stained the shattered teller machine. An armed security guard watched as local residents paid respects and placed flowers or meaningful trinkets. The Chase Bank branch quickly took corrective steps after the tragedy.

The guard was patrolling the bank by night’s end of the shooting, and a contracted worker quickly plastered the remaining bullet holes in an attempt to bring the bank to its past form Saturday morning.

A worker fixes the damages of a shooting at a West Kendall Chase Bank that was the scene of a murder-suicide that left two adults dead and a child.

A worker fixes the damages of a shooting at a West Kendall Chase Bank that was the scene of a murder-suicide that left two adults dead and a child.

One West Kendall resident who was paying respects at the scene said she was shocked when she heard of the shooting so close to home. She was mortified to learn a 3-year-old child was involved in an act of “senseless violence.”

Around 7:40 a.m. Friday, 43-year-old Odalys Bancroft and Theodore Couto, who would soon be 4 years old, sat in a minivan in the Chase’s ATM lanes.

An ATM was shattered by a bullet at a West Kendall Chase Bank that was the scene of a murder-suicide that left two adults dead and a child.

An ATM was shattered by a bullet at a West Kendall Chase Bank that was the scene of a murder-suicide that left two adults dead and a child.

An unidentified man pulled up next to her in an SUV and opened fire, killing them. He then shot and killed himself.

READ MORE: Child in car seat and 2 adults dead in a shooting at Kendall shopping center, police say

It’s unclear how many times he shot the gun, but at least five bullet holes littered the bank.

Bullet holes mark the wall of a West Kendall Chase Bank that was the scene of a murder-suicide that left two adults dead and a child.

Bullet holes mark the wall of a West Kendall Chase Bank that was the scene of a murder-suicide that left two adults dead and a child.

Police have not confirmed the trio’s relationship. The boy’s father, Vicente Couto, is Bancroft’s ex-husband. He and the Couto family have declined to speak to the Miami Herald.

A GoFundMe was created for Theodore to gather funds for funeral expenses and family assistance.

“Today, our family is facing an unimaginable tragedy,” wrote Jennifer Couto. “Vicente Couto has lost his only son, Theodore Couto. There are no words to express the depth of our sorrow. Theodore was a bright light in our lives, and his sudden departure has left us shattered.”

A GoFundMe was created to pay for the funeral expenses of Theodore Couto (pictured), a 3-year-old a month away from turning 4.

A GoFundMe was created to pay for the funeral expenses of Theodore Couto (pictured), a 3-year-old a month away from turning 4.

By early Saturday afternoon, the fundraiser had reached it’s goal of $18,000.

“Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers,” she wrote. “Hold your loved ones close, and cherish every moment together. Thank you for your kindness and generosity.”

Friends and colleagues remembered Bancroft as being a wonderful person to know and work with.

A few messages were left on her Facebook page offering condolences and honoring her.

A picture of Odalys Bancroft posted on her Facebook.

A picture of Odalys Bancroft posted on her Facebook.

Karina Pratt told the Miami Herald she’s had a long past with Bancroft, a friendship that lasted 14 years.

“She was just overall a great person, so kind and humble,” she said.

Bancroft had worked at Jackson Health System since 2015, moving through several positions as a “valued” team member, read a statement from Jackson Health President and CEO Carlos Migoya to employees.

“…Odalys has been a valued member of our team, known for her unwavering dedication, kindness, and exceptional talent,” Migoya said.

She started her career as a clinical staff nurse in the operating room, the statement read. She then went onto leadership positions at Holtz Children’s Hospital and, most recently, was the director of regulatory affairs.

“Odalys believed deeply in the work we do, and never shied away from showing off her Jackson pride,” Migoya said. “Jackson is better because of Odalys and the indelible mark she made on our organization.”

A memorial was created at a West Kendall Chase Bank where two adults and a child were killed in a murder suicide.

A memorial was created at a West Kendall Chase Bank where two adults and a child were killed in a murder suicide.

A string of murder-suicides

The West Kendall tragedy was just one of three similar, seemingly domestic-related murder-suicides in Miami-Dade in the last week.

On Thursday, a murder-suicide in a Coral Gables apartment complex left a man and woman dead and her 20-year-old son wounded.

READ MORE: Man kills woman, injures her son before taking his own life in Gables apartment, police say

Coral Gables, Florida, June 6, 2024 - Coral Gables police officer J. Coleman directs passersby away from the scene at the Gables Ponce apartment building, 310 Granello Ave., where Miami-Dade police say three people were shot inside an apartment, two fatally, in Coral Gables, Florida, June 6, 2024. The shooting was a murder-suicide, police say.

Coral Gables, Florida, June 6, 2024 – Coral Gables police officer J. Coleman directs passersby away from the scene at the Gables Ponce apartment building, 310 Granello Ave., where Miami-Dade police say three people were shot inside an apartment, two fatally, in Coral Gables, Florida, June 6, 2024. The shooting was a murder-suicide, police say.

On June 2, two men and two women were killed in a murder-suicide at a West Kendall home.

READ MORE: Four found dead after a murder-suicide in Kendall area home, police say. What we know

When Miami-Dade police officers performed a wellness check on the home, they discovered the four bodies.

One of the men, believed to be around 60 years old, was found in a room by himself with a gun and is suspected to be the shooter. Police said it appears he killed the three other people who were scattered inside the home before killing himself.

Miami-Dade police detectives investigate a murder-suicide at a home in Kendale Lakes on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

Miami-Dade police detectives investigate a murder-suicide at a home in Kendale Lakes on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

One of the women killed was a hospice patient in her 80s. The age of the second woman is unclear, though the man killed was around 80 years old.

At the time, Det. Angel Rodriguez, a spokesperson for Miami-Dade police, emphasized that there are resources offered for those who are going through a mental health crisis.

“We always stress to the community the importance of mental health. it’s a part of our overall well-being,” Rodriguez underscored. “Please, if you are in a position where you are not feeling well or need someone to talk to, there are plenty of services within the county.”

If you or someone you know is thinking about self harm, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It’s available 24/7.

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