KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Authorities say a 16-year-old girl whose body was found over the weekend in a wooded area of southwestern Michigan wasn’t reported as a runaway, as police have said.
Police are seeking information from the public about the death of Mujey Dumbuya, which is being investigated as a homicide. Her body was found Sunday in Kalamazoo with one of her pink tennis shoes missing. A cause of death wasn’t released.
Police say she was reported as a possible runaway Jan. 25 in Grand Rapids, about 50 miles away. Family members say, however, that she was reported as missing — not as a runway — after she left for the bus a day earlier and didn’t show up at school.
Across the country, police departments have fielded concerns that missing teens are too quickly classified as runaways even though that may not be the reason for their disappearance — and that the dangers faced by teens who do run away are minimized, an issue that has gained publicity in the Washington, D.C. region.
Dumbuya’s death comes days after after a Virginia teen police initially believed was a runaway was found murdered.
Hhaa Corneh, Dumbuya’s aunt, told CBS affiliate WWMT that she believes her niece was targeted and attacked.
“She didn’t run away. She was just missing. She has a great family that loves her and she is a delight to everybody,” said Dumbuya.
Police found her body after it was spotted by two people out for a walk.