GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A 16-year-old girl set to testify in a rape trial was found dead in the woods about an hour from her house, and the defendant in that case is now a person of interest in her death, according to reports.
"We are heartbroken, devastated and overwhelmed with grief over the death of our beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and cousin," her family said in a statement to WOOD. "Mujey was a generous, energetic young woman with a radiant smile and an adventurous spirit. (She) was a very good student who loved school. She had a close circle of friends, and was loved by everyone that knew her. Mujey loved music and dancing. She took classes in dance, martial arts and archery. Mujey was looking forward to graduating from high school next year. She wanted to be a police officer to help fight against social injustice, including racism."
James was arrested Feb. 1 on an unrelated rape charge from 2014 and is being held on $500,000 bond, according to WOOD.
"I know I'm sitting in jail. I know the news is bashing me, making me out to be a monster, and I know that all the things you're reporting are not true, that's what I know," James told WOOD. "I don't have a story, I don't have a story, but what you're reporting is not true."
Kalamazoo police declined to comment because it is an open investigation, according to WWMT.
The family created a GoFundMe account to help with funeral costs.
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