Watch CBS News

Tuesday marks five years since NYPD Det. Miosotis Familia was killed in the line of duty

Memorial mass held for fallen NYPD Det. Miosotis Familia
Memorial mass held for fallen NYPD Det. Miosotis Familia 02:16

NEW YORK -- A detective and single mother who made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of New York City was remembered Tuesday with a memorial mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

It was five years ago when Det. Miosotis Familia was ambushed and assassinated inside a mobile command center simply because of the badge she wore.

Familia was 48 years old when the single mother of three was brutally taken from a city she served with pride and honor, killed by a deranged gunman while she was on duty in 2017.

Her children -- Genesis Villella, the eldest, and twins, Peter and Delilah -- stood before an assembly of brothers and sisters in blue inside St. Patrick's Cathedral to remember.

"My mom graduated the Police Academy on July 11, 2005, and her funeral also happened to be on July 11, 2017, so I think it came full circle for her ... Five years later, the trauma, the feelings are still there. It never gets any easier," Villella said.

Outside the 46th Precinct Stationhouse, a mural honors the service and sacrifice of Familia. It was unveiled in 2019, allowing the detective to watch over the officers with a smile to inspire them.

The community rallied to help the detective's children, but there is unfinished business that continues to cause great pain, and it came up at the memorial service.

Related Story: Legal loophole denies children of fallen NYPD Det. Miosotis Familia access to her pension

"My mom had believed wholeheartedly that the city, that the state would take care of her family if she were to be killed in the line of duty. My mom could not have been any more wrong or misinformed," Villella said.

Villella, who stepped in as her siblings' primary caregiver, explained how she learned the hard way that because of a loophole in the law, children of single-parent cops who die in the line of duty are not entitled to their parents' pension for life.

"The children are only eligible up until the age of 18 and 23, provided that they are enrolled in school full-time. When my mom was killed, I was in college, and I had to un-enroll, so I dropped out to take care of my brother and sister," Villella said.

Villella is already cut off from the pension, and Peter and Delilah have just over five years until they're cut off as well.

Lawmakers in Albany would need to intervene to change that.

At the time of her death, Familia was the third female NYPD officer to be killed in the line of duty.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.