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'This pain is unbearable': Family celebrates daughter's birthday 1 month after her murder

Oriana Starr
Oriana Starr balloon release
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 19:16:35-05

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Oriana Starr would have been 23 years old on January 19.

Instead, her family gathered outside her apartment in Independence on Tuesday to celebrate without her, just one month after she was found dead in the apartment. Police said she had been shot.

"This pain right here is unbearable," Starr's mother, Crystal Graves, said. "I wouldn't want my worst enemy to feel this pain."

Starr was the baby of her family, the youngest of eight children, and doted on her nieces and nephews. She was the person to light up the room when she smiled, Graves said.

"She was such a caring person," Graves said. "A firecracker at the same time, but she had the heart."

Starr was found dead on Dec. 17. The next day, Independence police said they were looking for Brandon McDaniel, a person of interest in connection to her murder.

McDaniel was found and arrested in Arkansas on Jan. 11.

Graves told 41 Action News McDaniel was Starr's boyfriend. Family would worry because they say McDaniel was abusive.

"I'm going to tell every young lady out there right here and right now: if you're in an abusive relationship, run. Don't think he wont because he will," Roland Starr, Oriana's father, said.

Graves said Starr and McDaniel weren't in a relationship for very long.

The family urges people to speak up when they see domestic abuse or when they believe it's happening.

"I wont get the knock on the door. I wont get that text. Her dad wont get that phone call, 'Dad you eat today?' We don't have that no more," Graves said.

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Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the 41 Action News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the 41 Action News Mug Shot Policy.