KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Tuesday night, a community came together to the light the path to justice for their friend, brother and classmate, 18-year-old Amara Jones.
“He didn’t deserve this,” Jones' friend, Braydon McGill said. “He was getting ready to graduate, he just turned 18 [and] he didn’t deserve this.”
Jones’ friends held a vigil sharing memories and tears, as they remembered their friend who was gone too soon.
“It’s not going to be the same without my little brother," Xavier McGill, another friend of Jones, said. "[He was the] Real life of the party, had his own style, everything. Always uplifting everyone. Anytime he stepped in the room, everybody loved him in Raytown."
According to friends and those close to him, Jones was a music loving, goofy teen who went missing in December.
Friends who cried out for answers were met with comfort from Raytown teacher Emily Ullrich, parent Rachel Gervy and others who wanted to help, organizing a search party to find him.
“He was missing and we don’t know when exactly he went missing," Ullrish said. "Things aren’t right and it started to make people really worried and it didn’t make sense, and someone needed to figure out where he was. Kids need to see that someone actually cared enough to say this is not going to be another statistic."
A team of friends and strangers searched non-stop until Dec. 22, only to find out the soundtrack of Jones' life came to an end.
“When we found “Pooder,” it was really hard seeing one of your closest friends, your brother, just to see him there lifeless it hurts, it hurts,” Dorrion Northern, another friend of Jones said.
Gervy recalls the moment she saw Jones' body lying in the woods.
“He looked placed. He looked like he was just sleeping, like it was unreal, but I knew as soon as I got closer to him, I was the one that got closest, he was mummifying," Gervy said "You know he had been there for a while and some of the boys that you were talking to earlier, my little self had to hold them back."
Jones' friends say they want to set the tone for the community so it knows that someone cares and blood doesn’t make you family, love does.
“It’s going to be hard going through the hallways, looking through the memories, not hanging out with him, seeing the same people and all of that," JT Taylor, another friend of Jones said. "I do have a class with him too, so that seat is gone, he's gone forever."