Police say if fishermen didn’t stumble upon Jakarah’s body, she may never have been found

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Rochester Police believe the body of Jakarah Lopez-Moore was in the woods off Emerson Street for more than a month, and if it hadn’t been for fishermen, she may never have been found. 

“This is not a public fishing access, but thankfully, fishermen were walking down this little path toward the canal over the weekend when they spotted the remains of this 16-year-old girl,” said Major Crimes Unit Capt. Frank Umbrino.

Family and friends are devastated that a young girl with her life ahead of her was murdered. 

When Sunshine Bell heard that the body of her best friend had been found, she fell to her knees. 

Sunshine said, “She [doesn’t] deserve this, ya know what I mean? And there’s going to be justice for her.”

Rochester Police say Jakarah left her home on her own on Aug. 27. 

“Although Jakarah was going through things that young kids go through, it was uncommon for her to stay out of contact for two days with her family, it was uncommon for her to be off of social media for that length of time so, after two days where they did not have any contact with her, then the alarm bells went off and they called us,” Umbrino said.

RPD says officers started investigating right away.

“There were multiple different areas that we were searching, and we’ve actually utilized drones and other means to search areas prior to her being found,” said Umbrino.

Investigators won’t say how Jakarah was killed, how her body was found, or whether they’ve recovered her car or any other evidence that might lead to the killer or killers.

“The reason we’re somewhat guarded with the information, again, is there is information that only the killer is aware of and as soon as we share that information with everybody, that’s no longer a card that we have in our pocket,” said Umbrino.

Police are following leads, but they’re also asking for help.

“Anybody who knew Jakarah and has any information at all, needs to call us. Anybody who knows what happened to her, please reach out to us,” said Umbrino.

“How [are] you sleeping? How [are] you getting through nights knowing that you did this to an innocent child? She was only 16. She didn’t even get to live half of her life. She was only 16. That’s the heartbreaking part,” Umbrino said.

He said that they have gotten a number of questions about why an Amber Alert was never issued in this case.

“Jakarah was not abducted. The last time she was seen was leaving her home on her own around 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 27. There are very strict requirements for an amber alert, and this case didn’t meet the criteria for it.”  

RPD did put out a missing child alert for her and News10NBC reported that on Sept. 4.