Family of Regina's 9th homicide victim heading into Christmas without answers
Keenan Scott Toto's daughter says 'daddy's an angel now'
Jacqueline Kequahtooway said her daughter still reaches out with the tip of her pointer finger and whispers "daddy?"
It was a ritual that connected two-year-old Xadia and her late father, Keenan Scott Toto.
"When she'd miss him, she'd do that and she does that now," Kequahtooway said.
Toto was Regina's ninth homicide victim, killed in the early hours of December 1. Police did not say how he died, but the family said he was shot to death. Kequahtooway said her partner of five years left home around 2:55 a.m. that morning.
"I love you," she remembers him saying, and replying: "I love you, too."
He'd want us to have a Christmas for the kids, so that's what we're gonna try to do.- Trenna Toto, mother of Keenan Scott Toto
She remembers him repeating it once more before biking away. The police knocked on Kequahtooway 's door hours later.
"It's just an ugly feeling," she said, wiping tears away. "It was the hardest thing to ever hear."
She ran upstairs to wake up Toto's mom, Trenna Toto.
"We lost our light in our life. I lost my baby," Trenna said. "We don't know who would do something so cruel to another person."
The family wants answers and justice — but right now, they're just trying to make it through the holidays without their beloved. They've considered cancelling Christmas celebrations.
"We came to our senses and realized he wouldn't — he'd want us to have a Christmas for the kids, so that's what we're gonna try to do," Trenna said.
Kequahtooway said she and Toto had two children together — girls Xadia, 2, and Zulay, 4 — but said Toto also loved her children from before their partnership, too.
She said his firstborn, Zulay, was a "daddy's girl."
"When she would get hurt she would run to her dad, and when she cries it would be her dad." She said Zulay has been saying "Daddy's an angel, now."
The family describes Toto as kind, caring and protective — and they want people to know he wasn't a gang member. Kequahtooway said when Toto left their home, he was going to pick up a small amount of weed which he had been using to curb a meth addiction.
"He wanted to turn everything around, and he was like you know what, he said 'I'm going to beat this shit,'" she said. "It's been rocky, and I know he hated being on crystal meth."
She said their conversation before he left "felt really good."
"He didn't realize [this] until that night, I'm like 'you know when you do that, you're taking a part of me with you?'"
She said Toto, who had outstanding warrants for his arrest, was talking about turning himself in. Toto slept through his court date and didn't check in with his parole officer. Warrants were out for Toto for not appearing in court or showing up to his parole officer.
Despite his struggles with addiction, she said he was a loyal family man who made an effort to make sure the kids cared about school and sat at the table during meal times.
They had dreamed about getting married and moving further away from "the hood."
Now, she can't imagine leaving the space they shared.
Trenna remembers he son telling her she loved him "every single day this month," regardless of who was present.
It was special to her, and something not seen before. The family has issued a public plea, asking anyone with information to contact the police.
Trenna said they're not even close to properly grieving and mourning, "because they're still out there whoever did this to him."
She hopes finding out who did this will bring them closure, but Kequahtooway notes the kids will forever be without their dad.
"How do you sit comfortably knowing you took someone's dad away?"