By Journalist Ms. Jones
NEWBURGH – Newburgh lost a beautiful soul on Sunday, October 15 when Tanya Smith, affectionately known as “Boo,” was killed. Hundreds attended her homegoing celebration on Saturday, October 28 at Best Temple Church of God in Christ.
Boo’s childhood friends came from near and far to pay their respects. Margaret Miles came from Maryland. Angela Smith came all the way from Charlotte, North Carolina. Everyone had great things to say about her, how she attended church, sang in the choir, and was an all-around sweet person.
“I went to school with Stone [Boo’s brother] and I went to school with Shonda [Boo’s sister]… Boo was always like one of the sweetest girls ever. I mean, [she] just had that smile. She was very quiet and down to earth, one of the most beautiful people you could ever meet,” said Pastor Daymon Sutton of Kingdom House Ministry in Poughkeepsie.
Boo was authentic.
“That was a childhood friend of mine … I grew up with her… We went to school together in North Junior High and NFA… Growing up was spectacular with her. She was one loving girl… There will never be another like her. She was unique… She was always her [self]… She was not pretending to be nobody else,” said Bobby Dozier.
Everybody loved Boo.
“The day she left here, it was a somber day here in Newburgh… She didn’t deserve what she got. She really didn’t. Somebody killed her. The streets are talking… They say it was over a scratch-off ticket. She had won some money and he tried to take it. It’s disgusting… He’s in jail. Thank God,” said Boo’s cousin, Cindy Warren.
Boo was murdered, allegedly, by Kevin Cook, a fugitive from Illinois.
“The day that she went missing… that Friday, I was going to work… So, I always stopped at her house. She stayed right around the corner from me… So, I rang the doorbell… This guy came to the door… I said, ‘Is Boo in there?’ ‘Yeah.
“She in there.’ I said, ‘Well tell her I said come here.’ So, she came out the door, ‘Hey Auntie. What’s going on?’ I said, ‘What you doing?’ ‘I ain’t doing nothing… Where you getting ready to go?’ I said, ‘I’m getting ready to go to work.. I’ll see you when I get home from work.’ That’s the last time I seen her… She know what time I got off of work ‘cause she was there to meet me every Friday ‘cause she know that was my payday… But, when I got off from work, she wasn’t there… Next thing I know, Sunday they was coming around there telling me, ‘Boo got stabbed.’ I was like, ‘What…’ I was saying, ‘God, please don’t let it be her…’ Marcie [Hoilett] came and got me. She said, ‘Ethel, let’s go around there where it happened…’ On the way back to the house… my boyfriend called me and said the detective is here to see you. So, I got out of the car and two them was standing there. They said, ‘Are you Tanya Smith’s aunt?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ They said, ‘I’m sorry to say, it was her….’ Then they came over to my job that Monday… They said, ‘We came to tell you what really happened, how she died… She didn’t get stabbed. The guy choked her to death. The guy admitted that he did it,’” said Ethel Smith, Boo’s aunt, who took care of Boo and her siblings once Boo’s mom got sick.
“I had nine kids in my house at one time. I wouldn’t have it no other way. I wasn’t putting them in no system. I raised them. Boo was a good girl… She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”