Mother of KCK teen killed while at work pleads for help finding son's killer

Moved family from Myanmar to escape violence

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A J.C. Harmon sophomore, December Htoo, was killed on Friday night while working at a KCK laundromat.

41 Action News spoke with the teen's mother, who said she is overcome with grief. Ma Than brought a bowl of food to the make-shift memorial that now sits at the location where her son was killed. She talked to the media through the use of a translator.

"He was a good son. When he's in the house, he do everything we ask, like cook and wash dishes," said Than.

Than is a refugee from Myanmar and said the family came to the United States to escape violence in their home country.

KCKPD investigators were back on the scene Monday at Maple Hill laundromat as Htoo’s mother pleaded with the public to help find her son’s killer.

On Monday, police released pictures of two vehicles that were observed leaving the laundromat around the time Htoo was killed. The drivers of the vehicles are not believed to be suspects but police think they may be able to help in the investigation, according to a release.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the KCKPD Homicide Unit at 913-573-6030 or the Tips Hotline at 816-474-8477.

Htoo had one brother and two sisters. He worked at the laundromat to help provide for the household.

Those who knew him remembered him as a loving, outgoing individual.

The J.C. Harmon sophomore was on the honor roll and wrestling team. He leaves behind countless friends. The school provided grief counselors for students on Monday.

"These kinds of traumas really have an effect on kids. We're trying to support them expressing their feelings," said David Smith, KCKPS chief of communications.

The KCKPS superintendent, Dr. Cynthia Lane, penned a blog post Monday, writing that the community needs to stand up for its kids.

She also wrote that Htoo is the fourth KCKPS student to die from gun violence in just this school year, and the second at J.C. Harmon High School.

The blog post read, in part: 

"He was doing everything we could hope a young person would do. He was a leader in the school, involved in choir and wrestling, concerned about his grades and studies. December is described by all as a compassionate and caring person, who loved to laugh, and was concerned for his family, friends, and acquaintances at school.

And still, despite his doing everything we could ask a young man to do, we who are left have to find the courage to bury yet another young man, gone too soon."

Read the full post here.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral costs.

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