Murdered teen seen on camera the morning she went missing; Grandmother reacts to investigation: ‘We cried and were kind of mad it took so long’
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Footage from a Ring camera shows some of the last known images taken of Jakarah Lopez-Moore, the murdered 16-year-old whose body was found in the woods on the city’s west side.
The footage shows her coming home to her grandmother’s house in the early morning hours of Aug. 27. A short time later she would leave again — and never return.
That was Aug. 27. Nearly seven weeks later, her body was found in some woods near Edison Tech, where she went to school.
Jakarah’s grandmother Tracey McDaniels Tuesday night shared memories of Jakarah and offered her thoughts on how the police investigation was handled.
Marsha Augustin: Do you remember her last words to you or your last words to her?
Tracey McDaniels: She said, ‘I’ll be right back.'”
McDaniels never imagined that would be the last time she would see her granddaughter.
McDaniels says her granddaughter has gone missing before when she was younger, but she would be found hours later around the corner at a friend’s house. “Never a few days, just a few hours. She’s never gone very long. And if she is gone for more than two or three hours she’ll call me.”
When no one could get through to Jakarah on her cell phone, McDaniels had a feeling she was in danger.
“She never turns her phone off. Even if it’s on silent she could still get her text messages and things like that. So she never turns it off and I kept calling all day long and I wasn’t getting anywhere,” McDaniels said.
Over the weekend, some fishermen found Jakarah’s body in a wooded area near the canal on the city’s west side. Police aren’t saying how she was killed, but they are treating her death as a homicide.
On Tuesday, police gave an update to the investigation and said they had searched multiple areas for Jakarah, using drones and other means.
Rochester Police Captain Frank Umbrino explained why they didn’t put out an Amber alert.
“You have to have reasonable cause to believe that an abduction occurred. Reasonable cause means you have an eyewitness,” Umbrino said.
McDaniels said she had to push police to look further into Jakarah’s disappearance and believes there are disparities when it comes to searching when Black kids go missing.
“They thought it was just another runaway thing. Until my daughter called them too and she said, ‘No, this is not like her,'” she said.
“We were sad, we cried, and were kind of mad it took so long.”
McDaniels says police didn’t put out the missing alert until Sept. 4. But since then, they were active trying to find her granddaughter. McDaniels says she won’t rest until the person who killed Jakarah is caught and behind bars.