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Kaufman family remembers daughter’s determination, integrity

Caitlyn Kaufman Submitted photo

Butler native Caitlyn Kaufman called her mother, Diane, daily while working and living in Nashville, Tenn.

The night Caitlyn was murdered — over two years ago — was no different.

“I spoke to her that night,” said Diane, a resident of Chicora. “I was on the phone with her right before the shooting happened.”

Caitlyn and her mother shared “a special bond,” Diane said, and would sometimes call up to eight times a day. During their last call, Caitlyn was on her way to work as an intensive care nurse at St. Thomas West Hospital.

“It was our normal conversation: I was talking to her about, you know, how the morning was, her night before,” Diane said. “We talked about the weather. I know it was raining that night — it was a thunderstorm.”

Diane said she had planned a trip the following week to visit Caitlyn and see her new apartment just outside the city.

“We were talking about what we were going to do whenever I came down the following week,” Diane said, “because that would have been the first time that I actually saw her apartment with all of her things in it.”

And while Diane said she had met many of Caitlyn’s friends over video calls, she was especially looking forward to finally meeting them in person.

“And then, I had to get off the phone because I was going to get a Christmas card, which was actually for her,” Diane said. “Whenever I called her back, there was no answer, and that’s when she was shot.”

Caitlyn was fatally shot Dec. 3, 2020, by DeVaunte Hill in a road rage incident on Interstate 440.

Hill recently was convicted of second-degree murder and imprisoned for a maximum sentence of 25 years. James Cowan, driver of the vehicle from which Hill fired six shots, was acquitted.

While Diane and her husband, Rick, have spent the last two years embroiled in the ongoing court case, the proceedings only have highlighted their daughter’s impeccable character.

“Caitlyn was a very loyal person; she was a true person,” Diane said. “I swear — I swear — that she tells me every day to forgive them, because she is the type of person that always forgave people. Even when people weren’t worthy of her forgiveness, she forgave them.

“And people could learn from her in that regard, because that’s who she was.”

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