GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of a 16-year-old Grand Rapids girl found dead in Kalamazoo is pleading for answers as investigators try to piece together who killed her.
The family of Mujey Dumbuya is devastated and at a complete loss as to who would want to kill their vibrant teen who loved to go to school at East Kentwood High School.
“Please tell me it’s a bad dream and I wake up from this dream because it’s a tragedy. We did not see it coming,” Dumbuya’s aunt, Jainya Sannoh, said.
Family said it wasn’t like Dumbuya to not show up for school, which is what led them to file a missing person report with police.
She was last seen by family when she left for the bus on Jan. 24 in Grand Rapids. Four days later, her body was found 50 miles away in a wooded area near Blakeslee Street and Prairie Avenue in Kalamazoo.
Sannoh says their family can’t wrap their heads around who would kill her.
“Thinking about the sufferings, and you know, hiding from bullets and running away and walking for hours on your feet and not having a place to lay your head, not having food to eat,” Sannoh said. “Then here we are, this is where we’re going to make it, this is our place that we’re going to be that we can be safe and here we are we are not even safe.”
Her family escaped horrific violence in Sierra Leone more than 12 years ago. Sannoh said West Michigan has been a safe haven and this is the first death in their family since moving to the United States.
“The tragedy that has happened now is probably even more painful than what I saw back there,” Sannoh said. “Somebody must have seen something or somebody knows what happened to Mujey.”
A candlelight vigil was held in Dumbuya’s honor in Kentwood Thursday night.
As a family pleads for answers, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is doing the same. The one major marker was she was missing her right pink Nike tennis shoe. Anyone who saw Dumbuya or finds the other pink shoe is asked to contact KDPS at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.
When asked if Dumbuya’s death was connected to human trafficking, KDPS Capt. Shannon Bagley didn’t have a clear answer at this point in the investigation.
“Nothing right now. I mean, right now we’re not ruling anything out. I just don’t know I can’t answer that question right now,” Bagley said.