Mother Of Slain Model Paula Sladewski Speaks Out

NORTH MIAMI from – An anguished mother tried to make sense of how her daughter’s life ended so tragically in South Florida.

“We found out she was strangled and I said to my husband, ‘How horrible, she was watching her killer strangle her eyes to eyes,” she said.

Paula Sladewski’s body was left badly burned in a dumpster after she and her boyfriend had a fight at a Miami nightclub. The model had once appeared in a Playboy production.

Kelly Farris, Sladewski’s sister, pleaded for the public’s help in finding the person who took her sister’s life.

“My sister was just 26,” said Farris about her sister Sladewski. “She was full of life. She cared about everything. I just spent Christmas with her. I’m just pleading for anybody out there who knows something to come forward. She didn’t deserve to die this way.”

Farris spoke as her husband sat beside her at a news conference at North Miami Police Headquarters in a room packed with television news crews and North Miami’s Mayor and Police Chief.

Sladewski’s body was so badly burned that she had to be identified through dental records.

She was discovered in a dumpster around 9 p.m. on Sunday after a neighbor spotted a fire in it. He contacted firefighters immediately because he was worried that fire might ignite propane tanks at a business at 1491 Northeast 130th St.

The Miami-Dade Fire Department responded quickly as a fire station was just blocks away and that’s when they discovered Sladewski’s body.

“It’s just surreal,” said Farris. “I won’t even be able to open a casket to see her. I’ll never be able to see her again.”

“I just hope someone comes forward and helps,” said Farris. “We would like to see that somebody pays for this.”

Sladewski lived in Rancho Cucamonga, Cal. with her 35-year-old boyfriend, who is a realtor, according to her step-father Richard Watkin, who lives in Garden City, Michigan.

Watkin told us Sladewski had pursued a career in modeling after growing up in Westland, Michigan, near Detroit. He said her family now lived in Garden City.

Watkin told CBS4 that her body was so badly burned that she would have to be cremated before her remains could be sent back to Michigan.

Police say Sladewski was last seen early Sunday morning at Club Space.

Watkin said her boyfriend had actually been kicked out of the club after having a fight with her “and he left alone with wolves, the wolves in that club.”

Watkin asked for prayers that this case be solved.

Sladewski’s boyfriend has been called a “person of interest” by North Miami Police because he is the last person known to have seen Sladewski. But Cuevas said he is cooperating.

The boyfriend, who was identified by Watkin as Kevin Klum, was staying at LaFlora Hotel on South Beach with Sladewski. They had come here for a holiday.

Police say the boyfriend reported Sladewski as missing when she did not return from Club Space on Sunday morning. He contacted police and hospitals and the medical examiner’s office.

Watkin said he and Sladewski fought frequently and he said Klum recently broke her nose. “We told her to get away from him, but she wouldn’t listen.”

Klum would not come to the telephone when we reached out to him at LaFlora Hotel. “He’s not available,” a receptionist told us. “He’s busy right now.”

Klum’s lawyer Mac Beginn said his actions show that he didn’t do it. “He made the initial missing persons police report, he met with investigators; he hired his own private investigator; he made numerous phone calls to police departments, hospitals, and jails; he even came down to South Beach with missing persons fliers,” Beginn said.

Police are not saying if Klum is a suspect.

The dumpster was located in an area that appears to be out of the way. It is tucked between businesses several blocks west of Biscayne Boulevard on Northeast 130th St.

“This is a brutal, horrible crime,” said Lt. Neal Cuevas. “We want this person brought to justice.”

Kelly Farris meanwhile would not speculate about the boyfriend. “At this point, though,” said Farris. “I just don’t trust anyone.”

Police said they are checking surveillance tape from Club Space to see if they spot Sladewski leaving the Club with anyone. So far, it’s believed there was no surveillance tape near the dumpster where her body was found.

From her home in Garden City, Gloria Connor, who was Sladewski’s step-Grandmother, told D’Oench, “This is a horrible, horrible thing. It is just awful. And I just saw her on Christmas Eve, as she was on her way to Miami.”

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