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The family of a missing New York teen found dead in a shallow grave believes she was killed by the same person who killed the girl's father just days before she vanished.
The body of Jalia Marrero, 18, was found in Buffalo on June 6 by detectives assigned to the homicide unit, the Buffalo Police Department announced last month. The teenager was last seen on May 8 or 9 within the city limits.
Although her identity was confirmed by the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office, a cause of death has yet to be determined. Requests by Oxygen.com to Buffalo authorities were not immediately returned.
The victim’s family said Jalia was found in a shallow grave in a wooded area behind a commercial plaza on Delaware Avenue in North Buffalo, according to The Buffalo News. She had been dead for some time.
Her father, Luis Marrero, 39, was shot to death on May 4 in a Buffalo apartment within the Ferry and Grider Projects. A motive had not been released, and there have been no arrests connected to Luis’s homicide.
Her family says that Jalia made a statement to police about the murder of her father prior to her disappearance, but they lost contact with her shortly thereafter. Their concerns mounted when she did not show up to an appointment at the funeral home to assist with her father’s funeral arrangements.
“That’s when we started to get worried,” Luis’s cousin told reporters, who chose to remain anonymous due to safety concerns.
Relatives said Jalia was not into drugs but stated she had been a victim of domestic violence.
Family members maintain that both Luis and Jalia were killed by the same person, though officials have yet to confirm or deny this.
When Buffalo police announced Jalia’s disappearance, they listed her as a Hispanic female standing at around 5’2” and weighing approximately 125 pounds. She had short black hair but was known to sport long braids, as seen in her photos.
Police say the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Buffalo Police Department.
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