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Buffalo family looking for answers after father killed, daughter found dead

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jalia marrero

Tim Newkirk, pastor of GYC Ministries, left, and a family member of Jalia Marrero say they are seeking answers about the 18-year-old's death.

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In early May, Jalia Marrero watched her father get killed in her apartment, according to her family.

Her loved ones lost contact with her less than a week later.

Earlier this month, the 18-year-old's body was found by police in a wooded area in North Buffalo.

Her family is struggling to make sense of the situation and says they want answers.

"What happened? We're here and we want to know," said Pastor Tim Newkirk of GYC Ministries, who is working with members of Marrero's family. "And the world should want to know, also."

Jalia Marrero's father, Luis Marrero, was fatally shot May 4 in an apartment on Donovan Drive in the Ferry-Grider Homes, Buffalo police said. He was 39.

His death has been ruled a homicide. No arrests have been made ,and Buffalo police are continuing to investigate.

Police found Jalia Marrero's body 33 days later in a wooded area behind a commercial plaza on Delaware Avenue, south of Kenmore Avenue.

Police say they aren't sure how she died. The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office hasn't reached a final determination what caused her death, police said.

The family says they were told by a police detective Jalia's body was buried in a shallow grave. She had been dead for some time before she was found.

Jalia did not use drugs, aside from occasional marijuana, her family said.

She had been a victim of domestic violence, they said.

Police declined to comment about assertions by the family regarding details in the case.

Jalia would have graduated from McKinley High School on Thursday. In addition to going to school, she was also working two jobs.

She had given a statement to police after her father was killed, according to her family.

Family members had been in touch with her through May 9 or May 10, but then lost contact.

"That's when we started to get worried," said a cousin of Luis Marrero, who did not want her name used for this article because she said she is afraid for her safety.

Jalia's father's funeral was May 12. Her family had arranged for Jalia to come to the funeral home the day before to say her goodbyes, but she never showed up at the funeral parlor.

Family members believe they know who killed Luis Marrero, and they believe Jalia was killed by the same person.

They say they are scared because that killer remains on the street.

Buffalo police aren't saying much about the two deaths, citing the ongoing investigations.

Funeral services for Jalia will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E. Ferry St.

The family asks anyone with information call detectives at 716-851-4466 or GYC Ministries at 716-770-9093.

Reach Aaron at abesecker[at]buffnews.com or 716-849-4602.

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