Muldoon community gathers in memorial for Jayla Blackshear
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On Saturday afternoon the Muldoon community gathered, attracting people from all walks of life to remember 14-year-old Jayla Blackshear. She and her mother — 35-year-old Raechyl Blackshear — were the found dead in an East Anchorage home on April 15. Jayla’s father Jalonni Blackshear has been called a person of interest in the case by the Anchorage Police Department.
At Chanshtnu Muldoon Park Saturday, Begich Middle School students, parents, teachers, and others celebrated and paid tribute to the life of a young girl who lost her life in an unthinkable act of violence. At the memorial ceremony in honor of Jayla Blackshear, those who knew her — and those who didn’t — brought flowers, pictures, and told stories that helped people remember what 14-year-old Jayla was like.
”She was a fun outgoing person who never let anyone put her down, and she always tried to make everyone else around her smile,” said Jalysa Osborne, who was a close friend of Jayla’s.
Jalysa and her twin sister Jenyse organized the ceremony. Both said they were sickened and shocked by the news of their friend’s death.
“I was sitting on the couch with my sister and mother after she told me the news, and I also broke down crying because it was so sad,” said Jenyse Osborne
Jayla’s teacher Shannon Velez said she was in denial when she heard the news
”I kept telling myself it really wasn’t her. It really wasn’t. It’s not her, it’s not her,” Velez said.
Jalysa and Jenyse’s mother, Katrina, said she will also miss Jayla’s smile, saying that it was “infectious.” She added that she is very proud of her two daughters, because it took “a lot for them” to be able to put together the event.
“The fact that 14-years-olds had to go through this with their friends, but they are strong enough to hold it together,” Katrina Osborne said.
The two girls said they hope the memorial ceremony raises awareness about domestic violence, and what happened to their friend.
“Jayla, what happened to her was unfair and I want people to know that domestic violence should be stopped,” Jalysa Osborne said.
At the end of the memorial, everyone grabbed a balloon to honor Jayla, preparing to let go into the heavens, hoping the 14-year-old is in a safe place where nobody can hurt her anymore. As they let the balloons go everyone shouted,” We love you Jayla and Raechyl.”
Jayla’s father, Jalonni Blackshear, was taken into police custody last Wednesday in New York. He was arrested in connection to a separate case where he is charged with sexually abusing Jayla.
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