Dade City, Florida -- The family of a healthcare worker who was murdered when she went to check on the welfare of a man at his home has broken their silence on her tragic death.
Ross, a young health care worker for Integra Health Management, was killed on the night of Dec. 10 when she reportedly went to the Dade City home of Lucious Smith to make sure he was taking his medications and that his paperwork was in order for treatment.
Witnesses say they looked on in horror as they saw Ross scream for help and run from Smith as he stabbed her repeatedly.
Co-workers, neighbors mourn murdered healthcare worker
Understandably, Stephanie Ross' family had chosen to grieve privately and not speak to reporters on her untimely death -- until now.
On Thursday, the family released the following statement to authorities to pass along to the media.
"Stephanie's family and friends are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragedy. Stephanie was a loving person who was dedicated to working with others in need and had recently embarked on a career path that allowed her to do just that. She was looking forward to furthering her studies in Psychology and continuing to help and educate those around her.
We are grateful for the good samaritan who put herself in harm's way in an effort to save Stephanie. We are comforted that Stephanie made a friend when she needed one the most and that she did not leave the earth alone. This woman is a part of our family now and we pray for her comfort as she has no doubt suffered a tremendous event that will stay with her forever. We would like to thank all the detectives who have been working countless hours on the behalf of Stephanie and justice. They have been kind, patient, and empathetic with the entire family as we process the horrific and tragic event. We wish any and all questions regarding Stephanie's case be directed to the Dade City Police Department.
Stephanie's passing has left a tremendous void in our hearts and lives, and we ask for your prayeers and respect for our privacy as we prepare to say goodbye to our beloved daughter, sister and friend."