Police identify woman found dead in car

Michelle Russell

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Police have identified a woman found dead in a car around 4:30 Friday, Nov. 22.

The woman, identified by police as 19-year-old Michelle L. Russell, was found dead in a car near 35th and Jackson in Independence, Mo.

Investigators are calling her death suspicious, but detectives are waiting for autopsy results in order to determine a cause of death.

Police think she may be connected to a call they received around 10 p.m. Thursday. Someone reported a shooting at Motel 6 near I-29 and Barry Road in Kansas City, Mo.

When police arrived at the motel they discovered a crime scene but parties involved had left. Shortly after the shooting, police received word a shooting victim arrived at North Kansas City Hospital, but had left shortly after arriving.

Police later located a woman’s body in a car in Independence. The car matched the description of the one that arrived at the hospital.

“I tried to call her that day and she didn’t call me back and I couldn’t get a hold of her and I texted her and she didn’t text me back,” Becky Russell, mother, said.

Becky said she doesn’t know who would have shot her daughter or why. Becky described her daughter as outgoing and likeable.

“She was a very rambunctious girl,” she said. “She has a lot of spirit and everybody loved her. Everybody said she had the biggest heart.”

Russell’s sister-in-law, Johanna Davis, described her someone who could make people smile.

“There was always laughs when she was around” Davis said. “Most stories that involve her you end up laughing so hard your belly hurts.”

While Russell’s family mourns her death, they are also seeking answers.

“It’s hard because you do a lot of guessing,” Davis said. “You want to figure it out. You want to know what happened. You want it to make sense and none of it does. You just can piece it together. It’s not fair and it’s not right. Sometimes the unknown is worse because you can make up something worse than what really happened.”

A visitation for Russell will be held later this week. Meanwhile police continue their investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816.474.TIPS.

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