There were two things Sophia Abril loved: dancing to Michael Jackson music and playing basketball. Her mom, Carmen, said she was really good at both.
“She said one day she was going to play with the Mercury,” she said of the 22-year-old West Valley native. “She went to Butler school, she went to Isaac Junior High and then Tollison High.”
Sophia was murdered just a week or two after moving into her first apartment, the Casa Verde apartments at 54th Avenue and Indian School in 1998.
“This was November 27th, it was the day after Thanksgiving,” Phoenix Police Sergeant Darren Burch said, adding that officers responded to Sophia’s apartment after getting reports of shots fired.
“The apartment door was wide open and two young girls laid dead, shot to death.”
The other girl was Sophia’s 18-year-old friend Rebecca Gonzales.
“At the time witnesses saw two subjects running from the apartment when the shots came out and it is believed that these people might have known the victims.
“They know who they are and I’m sure they have talked and that’s what we’re hoping for, that they have told somebody,” Carmen said. “She was just a girl who just loved to laugh and have fun. Everything was fun to her.
“She had a lot of friends, a lot of girlfriends.”
Even though it’s been many years since her daughter was murdered, Carmen still dreams of her at night and still misses her terribly.
“There was no reason to take these two girls’ lives,” she said. “They had nothing against anyone, they were good girls, they didn’t hurt anyone.”