Family mourns 19-year-old found dead in Independence - KCTV5

Family mourns 19-year-old found dead in Independence

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

After police found a 19-year-old shot to death in a car last week, a local family is preparing to say its final goodbyes.

At the same time, police are working to figure out what happened to Michelle Russell.

Friends and family will gather Friday at Northeast Baptist Church in Independence to say goodbye to Russell.

They came together Sunday looking for answers about what happened to her.

Russell's mother, Becky Russell, needs people close right now, because the one person she wants isn't coming back.

"It rips my heart out," Becky Russell said.

Police found the body of her daughter in a car about 4 a.m. Friday in an Independence field.

Investigators say she had been shot.

"Accidental or on purpose, they could have left her at the hospital. She would have had a chance," family friend Sherri Powell said. "She deserves justice."

"They didn't have to leave her in a field, and just discard her," Becky Russell said.

It started when Kansas City police responded to a shooting at a Motel 6 in the Northland on Thursday night. They say they found evidence of a shooting there, but everyone involved had left.

Then, police heard a car had pulled up to North Kansas City Hospital with the victim, but left without dropping her off.

"If they would have left her there, and she was still alive, I wouldn't have cared who they were. But I do care now," Becky Russell said.

The family wants justice and answers so they can focus on honoring Michelle Russell's memory.

"We're just trying to piece it together ourselves, and what we're coming up with is not easy to live with. You know? We just want to know what happened and have them pay for what they did," said Ashley Alcanter, the victim's sister. 

"She was a beautiful, beautiful girl, and she had a lot of life in her. She had a lot of life," Becky Russell said.

Michelle Russell's family says she always wanted to help and made friends with anyone.  But the last few weeks, she was hanging out with a new crowd, who, unlike most of her friends, they didn't meet.  So, they don't know who she was with last week.

Police are calling this a suspicious death while they keep investigating.

They and the family are asking anyone with information to come forward and call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

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