Woman remembered for spontaneous charm and contagious smile

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - A week after getting news of her death, Michelle Russell's friends and family came together to remember the 19-year-old.

Police said they believe Russell was shot outside of a Motel 6 in the Northland on the night of November 21 and her body was discovered in an abandoned car the following afternoon in Independence.

During Russell's visitation on Friday, close friends said they want only to think of the best of times, even though the pain hurts more than anything.

"It's so difficult to find somebody that you've loved and somebody you've cared about for years....somebody that opened their heart to you and brought you into their family and to think they could just leave you in an instant. It really makes you think about the time you have with the people that you love. It makes you cherish every moment of it, and I'll cherish every moment I had with her," said Russell's best friend Donna Hayes.

Hayes said Russell had a contagious smile and a heart made of gold.

"She had a certain charm about her that was spontaneous, She was the life of the party. She was a ball of fire. She was the best friend a girl could ask for," she said.

As of now, no one quite knows the whole story of why Russell was killed.

"She didn't deserve anything that happened to her, her family didn't deserve that, and neither did her friends," said friend Brettny Liverman.

"She was such a loving person and a caring person and if the person who did this to her knew her, they wouldn't have done it," said friend Christian Dugent.

While those closest to Russell wait for answers, they say they will hold close to their heart the memories made during her 19 years on Earth.

"She'll never be forgotten, she'll always be remembered and she'll always be missed," said Hayes.

The investigation into Russell's death is still ongoing. The police are asking anyone with information to call the TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.

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