‘She left a big void’: Karissa Hamilton’s family seeks answers in Phoenix mom’s death

Nov 8, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2023, 8:02 pm

PHOENIX — The family members of a woman who was killed in February spoke out Wednesday at a press conference and want answers on what led to her fatal shooting.

Karissa Danyelle Hamilton, 29, was found dead in her gray Nissan Altima around 10 p.m. on Feb. 5 while parked in a parking lot at Steele Indian School Park, authorities said.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Her aunt, Patricia Brienza, said Hamilton’s death has left a big void.

“My daughter right now suffers greatly because of it, because her big sister is gone,” Brienza said. “She can’t go to parties. She goes home crying because she says ‘she’s not there for us mama.'”

A role model

Hamilton had two bachelor’s degrees in criminal administration at Northern Arizona University and sports journalism at Arizona State University.

David’s Giles, Hamilton’s great uncle, said she, who was originally from Yuma, came to Phoenix to make a better life for her son, Kyrie. One of the things she told him was that she wanted to be a sports journalist.

“She wanted to be on that sideline, in that locker room. No matter the sport,” Giles said.

Brienza spoke about how younger family members looked up to her.

“She was a very great role model for her nieces and nephews, I mean her cousins, I call them nieces because we see her more like my sister in a way too,” Brienza said.

Hamilton’s cousin said she felt like a sister to her and always looked up to her.

“She was very serious and she told you as is, which is really nice,” the cousin said. “I think sometimes you need to hear that. She didn’t beat around the bush. She told you as is and I really looked up to that. She was true to who she was.”

Always willing to help

Her mother, Sylvia Hamilton, said Karissa was her only child.

“Karissa was very kind and humble. She liked doing things for people but she always did it in the background where she didn’t expect recognition,” Syliva said.

Sylvia said Karissa encouraged her to be better and said she went back to school because of her. She expressed how good of a mother Karissa was to her son.

“She loved Kyrie and everything she did she did for Kyrie,” Sylvia said. “And he loved her so much too and he respected her, I mean she did a wonderful job with him.”

A $10,000 reward is available for information leading to an arrest in the murder case.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Silent Witness at 480-948-6377.

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‘She left a big void’: Karissa Hamilton’s family seeks answers in Phoenix mom’s death