Before the prayers and pleas for justice, a young girl walked to a porch on Wabash Avenue Sunday evening and tried to place a small stuffed bear on the wooden railing.
She’d set it there and it’d fall. Again and again, she’d pick it up until she finally tucked it between the railings. The girl and several others, who dropped off balloons and more bears and a couple of Hello Kitty plushes, just wanted to leave something for 3-year-old Damiah White and her mother, Myeisha Turner.
The two were found dead inside their small duplex Friday, just a few days after they had moved in. Turner’s cousin entered the home through a wide-open back door about 7:15 that night and found them.
At a vigil Sunday in the 5500 block of Wabash Avenue Sunday evening, Jasmine Goulden, another cousin of Turner’s who often watched Damiah, held tight a Hello Kitty with a pink plaid bow. “Damiah was always asking me for it and I would always say no. I want her to have it now.”
Goulden and many other family and friends and neighbors gathered to talk about the mother and daughter and make emotional pleas for anyone with information to come forward. The goal of the vigil, sponsored by the AdHoc Group Against Crime, was to tell the community about the mother and daughter and keep their names and stories heard.
“Somebody standing out here knows something,” said Gregory Harris, a friend of the family, as he looked around the growing crowd of more than 100 people.
Family members described a 28-year-old mother dedicated to her children and family and a smart little girl who often liked to act like she was in charge. They asked for prayers for Turner’s parents, Cheryl Turner and Wallace Brown, who have suffered great pain before.
Nearly two years ago, another daughter was murdered in Kansas City, Kan. Authorities said Sunday that Ebony Turner, who was found dead in her car, wasn’t the target of the gunfire.
“Our family has been traumatized by violence twice,” said Kevin Brown, Wallace Brown’s brother, who described Myeisha as a mother who went to work, never caused any trouble and just wanted to provide for Damiah and her little brother. “I miss both my nieces. The heinous way they were taken, they did not deserve.”
The crowd also asked for prayers for Turner’s 11-month-old son. He was alive and crying when his mom and sister were found. The boy had been left to wander around the bodies — possibly for hours. Police have not released much information, including when they believe the mother and daughter were killed.
Two Kansas City police detectives attended the vigil to support the family. Detective Alane Booth said she wants people to know about this young mother and her child, who died so young, and to understand what the community has lost.
“I think the more we hear about her young life, the more they’ll be willing to come forward,” Booth said. “I don’t want this to be forgotten when the next homicide happens.”
The detective urged people with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (474-8477). “They can talk and remain anonymous,” said Booth.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker also pleaded for help: “I’m asking for heroes to step forward,” she said.
At one point, two little girls walked to the center of the crowd and wanted to say something. One of them became too shy to speak. The other said: “Damiah, she was my friend and we used to go a lot of places together.”
Wallace Brown described the last time he talked to his granddaughter and told her he wanted to come and get her, wanted to see her. Typically, Brown said, Damiah would usually reply, ‘No, Papa, because you’re going to try to keep me.’
But that last time he called, the 3-year-old had a different answer.
“She said, ‘I’m ready to go right now,’” Brown told the crowd. “‘You ready to come get me?’”
Brown shook his head. “I never got a chance to come get her.”