A globe-trotting Queens woman who was murdered in Jamaica likely knew her killer, the lead investigator told the Daily News Friday.
Jamaica Constabulary Force Supt. Michael Phipps said investigators believe Desiree Gibbon, 26, partied with a mysterious acquaintance the night before she was found on the side of a rode with her throat slit.
“We believe more or less that she may have been familiar with the person who did this,” Phipps told the Daily News.
The former beauty contestant’s brutalized body was found about 7:30 a.m. Sunday among the brush on the side of a road located 4 miles from the popular tourist town of Montego Bay.
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Gibbon left the guesthouse owned by her family about 11 p.m. Saturday with her phone but no purse, Phipps said.
A preliminary investigation revealed that she hit several bars in Montego Bay.
“We’re not sure who she was with,” Phipps said. “Next thing we know, her body was found the following day.”
She was found fully clothed but her phone was missing. In addition to the laceration to her neck, Gibbon was sporting multiple bruises on her hands, thighs, and upper and lower torsos.
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“They suggest there was a struggle,” Phipps said.
It was not clear whether the victim was sexually assaulted. An autopsy was scheduled for Dec. 5, authorities said.
The police have no suspects but they were looking to question several people known to Gibbon.
Investigators were also scouring the bars’ surveillance footage and hunting for her cell phone, authorities said.
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Gibbon’s uncle in Jamaica told The News earlier Friday that the police informed her they were seeking to question two young women.
Phipps said they were not considered suspects.
But Gibbon’s boyfriend, Phil Rodriguez, told The News that she had complained about having problems with some new friends she met during her trip.
“Some friends were responsible, law-abiding citizens with jobs but she also made friends with what she called ‘poor girls’ from the other side of town,” Rodriguez said.
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“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she made what she thought was friends but they were actually plotting against her.”
The mystery deepened Thursday when Gibbons’ mom Andrea received a fraud alert when she tried to make a purchase on her CitiBank card.
The card was linked to the victim’s phone — and bank officials told Andrea that someone had tried to make a wire transfer.
“It may be something, it may be nothing,” Andrea Gibbon said.
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“The bank said the wire transfer attempt was made yesterday.”
Gibbon, who grew up in Hollis, arrived in Jamaica on Oct. 20 and planned to return home Nov. 30.
While staying at the Gibb’s Chateau owned by her grandparents, Gibbon was looking for bartending work in the hope of saving money to attend film school in Europe, relatives said.
“She was a lovely young lady. Very polite, very friendly person,” said her uncle Claude Gibbon, 51. “A person you could connect with easily.”
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The uncle said he had no clue what happened to her niece. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the days leading up to her slaying, he added.
“She was gone for a few days, but it wasn’t anything that was uncommon,” he said. “She’d sometimes go in and out.”
Claude Gibbon said he grew concerned when Desiree still hadn’t returned home on Monday.
His worst fears were realized when detectives showed up at his place with a photo of his slain niece and one of her sandals.
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They told him they had received a tip that she might have been staying there.
“It was overwhelming,” Claude Gibbon said. “They said they had bad news and showed me the photo to identify her.”
News of Gibbon’s gruesome murder left her friends in Queens stunned and heartbroken.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” said Marisol Perez, the mother of one of the victim’s best friends. “I don’t know why it’s taking so long to find out what happened.”
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Perez said Gibbon had a special kind of charisma.
“She was just one of those people — very confident, very independent,” Perez said. “She always wanted to be famous.”
The victim went to Jamaica in the hope of making some of the $14,000 she needed to pay for an international film school in Europe, Perez said.
“She wanted to get the money on her own,” Perez added. “She was always the life of the party. She was a happy girl.”
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LAURA DIMON, ESHA RAY, RICH SCHAPIRO