Mother devastated after her husband and daughter were stabbed to death in Palmdale Mall

A heartbroken mother is speaking out after her husband and daughter were stabbed to death outside a Kohl’s store in Palmdale on Thursday.

Ken Evans and his daughter McKenna Evans were spending the afternoon together working on one of their cars in the Palmdale Mall parking lot when they were brutally attacked.

“She wasn’t just my daughter, she was my best friend,” said Elizabeth Evans, the victim’s mother.

Elizabeth says her husband was a doting father and her daughter was the light of her life.

“He loved playing pool, he loved mountain biking, he loved spending time with his daughter,” Elizabeth said. “She was an absolute beacon,” she says of McKenna. “She didn’t know a stranger. Everyone has become his best friend.

A male suspect has been arrested and authorities say he may be a transient. The victims’ family believe the attack was random. Elizabeth believes the suspect was a drug addict and says her husband tried to protect her daughter from the attacker as they were repeatedly stabbed.

Jesse Mercado, McKenna’s boyfriend, says his girlfriend was a kind, caring and ambitious young woman.

“The first time I met her was at work,” Jesse said. “The moment she showed up was the day I fell in love with her.”

The past few days have been totally traumatic for Elizabeth and Jesse.

“I’m absolutely destroyed,” Elizabeth said.

“I ran to the crime scene to see if she was okay,” Jesse said in tears. “I wanted to hold her again. It was hard to know that the person who changed my life so drastically – in a single day – was taken away.

As Jesse and Elizabeth mourn the devastating loss of their loved ones, the police investigate the events that unfolded during the fatal incident. The murder weapon has still not been found, authorities said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Los Angles County Sheriff’s Department at 323-890-5500.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling “Crime Stoppers” at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at

The Evans family set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover funeral costs.