Jakarah Lopez-Moore returning home from a friend’s house around 1:15 a.m. on Aug. 27.
About a half hour later, police said the 16-year-old left again — for the last time.
She was reported missing on Aug. 29, and after about a seven-week long search, her body was discovered in a wooded area on the city’s west side. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Jakarah had been living with her grandmother, Tracy McDaniels, for the last year.
“She was fun, she was a cut-up, had a good time, a good sense of humor,” McDaniels said. “She made friends with pretty much everyone that she met. She just had things going for her.”
McDaniels said Lopez-Moore had just started driving, and was eager to get behind the wheel every chance she got. The last time she saw her, she believed the teen was off to a friend’s house.
“We were just cutting up about something and then she said ‘I will be back later,’ and later would mean a few hours — she wouldn’t have been gone that long,” McDaniels recalled. “Then, I woke up and she didn’t answer and her phone was off, and I started getting worried.”
Where Jakarah went after leaving home near Weld and Scio streets remains a mystery. Her phone last pinged in the area of North Clinton Avenue and Andrews Street where family gathered in September hoping for her safe return, according to the Rochester Police Department.
The next several weeks were agonizing, as McDaniels and her family wondered what happened to Jakarah.
On Oct. 14, police discovered her body in a wooded area near the Erie Canal behind an industrial area on Rochester’s west side. Police said her body had been there for more than a month.
Authorities would not say how she got to the area or how she died, as not to jeopardize the investigation.
Now, her family is hoping for closure.
“She wanted to be an Indianapolis 500 driver. She wanted to be a truck driver, or trying to be a phlebotomist,” McDaniels said. “She wanted to be a nurse. She had a lot of hopes and dreams.”
An AMBER Alert was never issued for Jakarah because her case did not meet the criteria, as there was no evidence she had been kidnapped and police said she left home on her own free will.
“They have been doing good, doing their searching like they are supposed to, getting all the leads they could, they didn’t make it a cold case,” McDaniels said.
Police are asking for anyone with information to call 911, the Rochester Police Department Major Crimes Unit at 428-7157 or Crime Stoppers at 423-9300. Tips can also be emailed to MajorCrimes@cityofrochester.gov.