TAMPA, Fla. — Through tears, a heartbroken mother begged any witnesses to come forward to help catch the shooter who killed her 14-year-old daughter, Nilexia Alexander.
The missing teen's body was found last Friday morning on West Floribraska Avenue near North Highland Avenue. Gunshots had been heard in the area shortly before police arrived.
The Tampa Police Department said it had no updates Tuesday on the search for the gunman, but the agency arranged a news conference with Nilexia's mom Ashley Alexander.
Ashley described her daughter as someone who loved reading and drawing. Nilexia sang and enjoyed a wide variety of music and clothes.
She was a "girly girl," who found joy in trying various hairstyles, Ashley recalled.
"She was my life," Ashley said, begging anybody who may know anything about Nilexia's homicide to come forward.
"I want whoever did this to my baby to be brought to justice," Ashley said.
"This is not a pain no parent have to feel," she added while fighting back tears. "You should not have bury your baby. You should not have to bury your child."
Nilexia's family members will gather at 6 p.m. Wednesday for a balloon release in the 100 block Floribraska Avenue. Any members of the public or media are invited.
It's by where Nilexia's body was found on the side of the road. Ashley said Nilexia was smart, loving and caring.
“She’d do anything for you, anything," Ashley said.
Grace Iverson, who lives around the corner from where the teen's body was found, says it’s extremely unsettling knowing the killer is still out there.
“My roommate and I were asleep and our other roommate was awake and he ended up hearing a few of the shots,” Iverson said.
Nilexia was from Temple Terrace. Investigators say she had run away from her home before and previously spent time in the Jackson Heights area.
“If you saw Nilexia at any time in the past week or week and a half or so, it would be very helpful," Tampa PD Spokesperson Sandra Bentil said previously. "The smallest detail can provide quite a bit of information to detectives."
If you have any information, you can call Tampa Police at 813-231-6130. Anonymous tipster can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.
"I want justice, and I want it sooner than later. Please, please, I beg the city: Help me find the person responsible for my baby's death," Ashley said.