"She would give you the shirt off her back if you needed her, and she had a really kind soul,” Tayanna Manuel’s mother Pamela said.
16-year-old Tayanna Manuel's body was found on December 26 in an apartment complex in the 4900 block of North Salida Street in Denver. The young teen was reported missing on Christmas Eve and later found dead near the apartment-complex dumpster the day after Christmas. Her family is now looking for answers in connection to her death. Pamela Jackson, the young teen's mother, told 9News on Tuesday she believes her daughter was killed three days earlier in a shooting.
The mother and two sisters of Tayanna Manuel spoke about who she was and the frustration surrounding the initial stages of the investigation. https://t.co/8dddNIpfDn— FOX31 Denver KDVR (@KDVR) December 27, 2022
“We’ve just been trying to get through this as much as we could and as much as we can just to find out answers,” Jackson said. “I just want these people that did this to my daughter to be caught. The weight is just so unbearable – it is so unbearable." The grieving mother believes there should have been more of an effort by authorities to help find her. "My daughter was 16, and that should have been a red flag – drop everything ... and help this woman find her child," Jackson told the outlet.
Describing her daughter as "a wonderful person,” Jackson said, “She just loved life. She was happy, silly, always playing around with her sisters. She was just a happy kid. She would give you the shirt off her back if you needed her, and she had a really kind soul – and I just don’t know why this happened to her in the way it did. And I’m just so distraught.”
According to Denver police, "one male victim" was injured in the shooting on December 23 and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Manuel's family members told Fox31 that the victim was Manuel's boyfriend. "He was found, but she wasn't. So we were under the impression she was missing," Manuel's sister Nyrobi said. A GoFundMe has been set up to help with Manuel's funeral expenses.
So far no arrests have been made in the case. Police are currently looking for a vehicle they believe is connected to Manuel's homicide. “We know about the vehicle because we found it before the police. We were on all of this before the police were, and then the suspect pulled up while we’re waiting for the police to come and he took the car,” Nyrobi said.
The Denver Police Department told PEOPLE in a statement that "detectives from both the MEP (Missing, Exploited Persons) and FAST (Firearm Assault Shoot Team) units were assigned to this case when she was first reported missing. Detectives continue to work to gather information that can lead us the individual(s) responsible for her murder as well as the shooting that occurred on Kittredge."
Anyone with information regarding the situation is urged to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.
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