‘I dropped to the floor and I screamed’: Best friend of girl found murdered speaks out

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ROCHESTER, N.Y, — It’s the news no one wanted: A missing 16-year-old girl, found dead.

The body of Jakarah Lopez-Moore was found in the woods near Edison Tech in Rochester on Saturday, Oct. 14. She had been missing since Aug. 27.

“It’s mind-boggling what happened to her, you know, and it’s heartbreaking because that’s an innocent child,” Sunshine Bell said.

Bell was not only Jakarah’s best friend, she was family, she says. Bell is having a difficult time coping after hearing the news of Jakarah’s murder. She says she feels like she’s living a nightmare, and she wants justice for Jakarah.

“I just dropped to the floor. I screamed at the top of my lungs, and I just kept saying, ‘No, God, why?'” Bell said.

Sunshine Bell says she’s struggling to stay strong, but the loss of her best friend is too hard to deal with.

She says 16-year-old Jakarah Lopez-Moore was lovable, happy, and smart.

“We did everything together. She would come to my house almost every day to see me. If she wasn’t at my house I would go to her grandmother’s house to see her, or you know, little things like that — we had a very close bond,” Bell said.

A childhood photo of Jakarah Lopez-Moore. (Photo: Facebook, used by permission)

Rochester Police say Jakarah’s body was found Saturday in the woods on Vanguard Parkway on the city’s west side. Investigators aren’t saying how she died, but they are treating the case as a homicide. The teenager was reported missing after being last seen leaving her home in the early morning hours on Aug. 27.

“Her mom called me about 1:50-something yesterday morning. I’m not going to lie. I dropped to the floor and I screamed. I couldn’t do nothing. That’s my baby,” Bell said.

Bell says that days before Jakarah went missing she was in good spirits and came to visit her and her newborn baby at the hospital. She also spoke to her on Facebook video chat. So when she learned from a Facebook post about Jakarah being missing, she couldn’t believe it.

“She was just up here at the hospital with me –it’s not making sense,” Bell said. “She was just so happy — what do you mean she’s missing, she’s not going to run away from home.”

A recent photo of Jakarah Lopez-Moore. (Photo: Facebook, used by permission)

So Bell decided to track Jakarah through a locator app they used, to let each other know their whereabouts. She showed Jakarah’s last location.

“Last location, it said the location in her phone was powered off. It said she was on North Clinton and Andrews. After that I had a gut feeling something was off,” Bell said. She says Jakarah always had her location on.

“It’s heartbreaking. I don’t know how to feel. I’m just so numb right now,” she said.

Now all she wants is justice for Jakarah.

“We are going to figure out what happened to her and let it be known her name is going to forever live on,” Bell said.

Police are investigating Jakarah’s death as a homicide and ask anyone with information to call 911.