Murder victim, 16, was set to testify in rape case

Mujey Dumbuya of Grand Rapids found dead in Kalamazoo in January

An undated courtesy photo of Mujey Dumbuya, provided by relatives.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 16-year-old from Grand Rapids who was found murdered in Kalamazoo was also the victim in a sexual assault case scheduled to go to trial within months, the Kent County prosecutor said.

Mujey Dumbuya was last seen alive Jan. 24 as she left her home to catch the bus to East Kentwood High School. Her body was found four days later about 50 miles away in a wooded area in Kalamazoo.

On Wednesday, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker confirmed to 24 Hour News 8 that Dumbuya was the victim in a criminal sexual conduct case against 42-year-old Quinn Anthony James. She was set to testify at his trial in April.

Photo: A Feb. 1, 2018 mug shot of Quinn James.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Capt. Shannon Bagley told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday that James wasn’t being called a person of interest in Dumbuya’s murder, but that investigators are taking a hard look at him.

James is a former employee of Kentwood Public Schools, having worked there from October 2011 to November 2017 as a grounds and maintenance worker, district Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff said in a Wednesday statement.

Zoerhoff said James was fired after allegations arose that James was involved in the sexual assault of a student in the summer of 2017. The district said the assault didn’t happen on school grounds and that James didn’t meet the student while on the job.

>>PDF: Statement from Zoerhoff

Online court records show James was charged with four counts of third-degree CSC in the case and that he was ordered in November not to have any contact with Dumbuya.

Wyoming police arrested James Feb. 1 — four days after Dumbuya’s body was found — on an unrelated CSC case from 2014. The prosecutor’s office had declined to prosecute that case at the time due to “insufficient evidence.” Becker would not say what changed to facilitate the arrest now.

Online Michigan State Police records show James has a criminal history dating back to 1991 that includes convictions for armed robbery and being a prisoner in possession of a weapon.

When 24 Hour News 8 went to James’ last known address Wednesday, whoever was there said they were not related to him and had no comment. However, neighbors said James was quiet and kept to himself.

Dumbuya’s family declined to comment to 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday, saying they are grieving.

They released a statement Thursday:

“We are heartbroken, devastated and overwhelmed with grief over the death of our beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and cousin.

Mujey was a generous, energetic young woman with a radiant smile and an adventurous spirit.

Mujey was a very good student who loved school. She had a close circle of friends, and was loved by everyone that knew her. Mujey loved music and dancing. She took classes in dance, martial arts and archery. Mujey was looking forward to graduating from high school next year. She wanted to be a police officer to help fight against social injustice, including racism.

We ask that everyone, including those in the media, respect our request for privacy as we mourn Mujey’s death. We also ask that the media refrain from publishing photographs and video of the children in our family. Their safety and sense of security is our most urgent concern. Thank you.”

Anyone with information about where Dumbuya was between the time she was reported missing and when her body was found can call KDPS at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.

–24 Hour News 8’s Sarah Hurwitz contributed to this report.