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Police: Durham teen's death not random crime

Posted March 30, 2015

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— A Durham teen whose body was found in a backyard a couple of miles from her home on Saturday likely knew her killer, Police Chief Jose Lopez said Monday.

Police haven't disclosed when or how Tierra Hall, 17, was killed, but Lopez said the investigation is "moving forward pretty fast" as investigators follow leads and forensic evidence is analyzed.

"The community needs to understand that we don’t see this as a random act at this point in time," he said. "It is tragic. It’s a tragedy that the community needs to absorb, needs to mourn and needs to get some sort of a rage about to find ways in order to put a stop to this."

Koteya Hall said she needs answers to her daughter's death.

"I loved her so much. I just do not understand. Her death means, what does it mean?" she said, choking back tears. "I need to know why. I need to know why. I'm angry.

"All I know is she's gone," Koteya Hall continued. "I don't know how. I don't know who. I don't know why. And I'm angry because it didn't have to happen. This is not something that had to happen at all, and I can' t wrap my head around it."

A man and a woman checking out a vacant house at 4123 Trotter Ridge Road found Tierra Hall's body, but they didn't realize she was dead. According to a 911 call released Monday, the man told the dispatcher that she appeared to be sleeping, but the couple didn't approach her. Instead, they called for help because they were worried she was out in the elements in a short-sleeve top with no coat.

A neighbor said the owner of the Trotter Ridge Road home moved to Texas several years ago and had been renting out the house before deciding to sell it. A real estate agent said the house is under contract and hadn't been shown to prospective buyers for a couple of weeks.

Tierra Hall was a sophomore at Charles E. Jordan High School, which is a few blocks from where her body was found.

Koteya Hall she last saw her daughter Friday. When she didn't come home that night, she said she assumed the teen was at a friend's home because it was the start of spring break, so she never reported her as missing.

Lopez said parents need to know where their children are.

"When your child has not come home, you need to start looking for that child (and) contact police," Lopez said. "That’s not a normal practice, that you do know where your children are at all times. I think that’s very important."

Friends have started a GoFundMe account to raise money for Tierra Hall's funeral expenses.


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  • Angie Cox Mar 31, 2015
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    if my child didn't come home no matter if it was summer break, Christmas break, spring break, I would be out looking for them and never assume anything. I am sure she had a cell phone. I would be at their friends. I would be worried. RIP to the girl.

  • Dan Owen Mar 31, 2015
    user avatar

    I found it odd how the Best Friend was crying on the news, yet no tears appeared at all...

  • Anne Havisham Mar 30, 2015
    user avatar

    I agree with Chief Lopez, and at the same time, we should remember that regardless of the communication between Ms. Hall and her daughter, only the person responsible for Tierra Hall's death is responsible for her death.

    Even if parents and guardians know exactly where teenagers or children are at every minute, they can not prevent every mishap.

    May there be some comfort for Ms. Hal in knowing that Tierra appeared to be sleeping when she was found.

    It is my hope that there are answers soon, and that Ms. Hall, Tierra's best friend Mya, and the other people Tierra leaves behind have support while they cope with this horrid event.

  • Chris Williams Mar 30, 2015
    user avatar

    I agree, You should know when your kids are all the time. Have them check in often. Or call their phones if they have on. Call not text. Hrae their voice.