tyvon whitford florida cold caseMay 6, 2019 | By Jessica May

This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.

***This Spotlight was updated on June 10, 2024 with a letter from Tyvon’s son***

Dear Mom,

I miss you so dearly…I miss when you smile, a smile that can shine through any galaxy. A laugh that was like no other. I miss when you used to get our favorite foods and watch movies, I miss our pizza nights so much. The last time we had one was the night you died, we were watching Elektra. To the last “I love you” that we told each other was when you were dying. I said I love you and you said it back with blood gurgling in your mouth. I can never forget that traumatizing moment… I can’t forget about you either, Ke’mora. I know I would’ve been the best big brother to you. The only time I ever got to see you was when you & mom were looking so gorgeous in the white dresses [at the funeral] and you with your little red hair. I will forever miss you [mom] and be grateful for the opportunity to be your first and only son, your smile and energy lives through me every day.

The things my mom’s killer took from me was the joy and happiness that I felt when my mom was alive. I forgive you but I will never forget what you did to my mom, my happiness & my pain and suffering. I wish you nothing but the best cause I know God answers all prayers & you will have to suffer and take the consequences in the end. I grew so much, I just wish you were here to see your momma’s boy accomplishing all in life.

I love you with all my heart gorgeousness until I see yall again my loves❤️🥹🕊️🕊️

Your Loving Son & Big Brother LLC LLK 🤞🏼🕊️💙….

***Original Spotlight from May 6, 2019***

“Our family is a chain and she was the link that held us all together. Now that link is forever missing,” said Dale Whitford, the mother of Tyvon Nicole Whitford. Tyvon was pregnant at the time of her mysterious murder on June 7, 2007. The murder has never been solved.

Whitford was born in Gainesville and had graduated from Interlachen High School. She worked for the Florida Department of Corrections for nearly three years and had lived at a two-bedroom home between Hawthorne and Interlachen. She moved into that house a month before she was murdered.

Before living there, Whitford lived with her mother for 25 years. While living with her mother, she gave birth to her first child and became pregnant with what would have been her second.

According to newspaper articles at the time, Tyvon was six months pregnant when she was shot and killed in her Hawthorne, Florida home, not far from Gainesville. A man called authorities to report the shooting shortly after a separate 911 call had been placed from the home. Articles indicate that a “person of interest” was interviewed at the time, but no arrest has ever been made. Tyvon’s 5-year-old son was in another room of the home at the time but did not see the shooting. Investigators said that it did not appear that her job as a correctional officer was related to her death.

Her mother, Dale Whitford, said if her daughter was to be remembered as anything, it would be as a good friend and mother.

“I raised my best friend and she was taken from me,” Dale Whitford said, speaking on the loss of her daughter. She has nothing left of her child but memories and her grandson, who was five years old and at home when his mother was killed.

“It was 11 years ago, but it hurts like it happened yesterday,” said Whitford. “We were best friends. After she became a mother the bond grew stronger.” Long movie nights, cookouts, and picnics: Tyvon Whitford was all about being there and spending time with her family.

It has been a difficult road for her son. “It’s so hard for him,” Dale said. She explains that there are certain times she knows the boy misses his mother. “I try to play the role, but there is only so much I can do as a grandmother.”

He still reflects on memories of his mother and the things they used to do together, she said.  “Life for him is one day at a time.” The now 16-year-old boy keeps himself busy with school and basketball. Whitford said, “He is a pretty well-rounded kid and has a smile that will break your heart.”

Tyvon would would want to be remembered as a devoted mother, sister, and loving daughter, but mostly as a good mom. She loved being a mother. Whitford said that when her daughter was younger, she would help take care of her two younger siblings and loved them just as much as she did her own children.

Outgoing, loving, and with a heart of gold, Tyvon Whitford was a person of joy, laughter, and love. “If something wasn’t funny, she always knew a way to make it funny,” Dale said.

Raising her grandson helped Whitford keep going when times were tough due to the loss of her daughter. “I knew I needed to give him a better life, and she was such a great mother and I needed to keep it going.”

Dale also continuously goes back to the home where her daughter lived, where a memorial is set up. Going there is one of the ways she feels close to her daughter.

She still feels sad that more attention wasn’t given to the crime, particularly from the media. “It seems like they just moved on to the next thing.”

If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Tyvon Nichole “CoCo” Whitford, please  contact the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at (386) 329-0800 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 277-8477.

tyvon whitford unsolved murder hawthorne florida gainesville

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Newspaper Clippings

South Florida Sun-Sentinel - June 11, 2007

Cold Justice - Oxygen Network

Cold Justice - Oxygen Network

Cold Justice - Oxygen Network

Photo Album

Image provided by the family of Tyvon Whitford

Image provided by the family of Tyvon Whitford

Image provided by the family of Tyvon Whitford

PCC staff with PCSO detectives and Kelly Siegler during Cold Justice filming

PCC Staff and Tyvon’s family during Cold Justice filming

PCC Cold Case Playing Card featuring Tyvon Whitford


Location of Homicide