KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hundreds of students walked across the stage Thursday night at the Metropolitan Community College graduation. But one person was missing from the crowd: Daizsa Bausby.
Police found 18-year-old Bausby’s body in a South Kansas City hotel in late March. Officers recently revealed they’re now investigating her death as a homicide, as they believe she was suffocated.
Those who knew Bausby best called Thursday’s graduation ceremony a “bittersweet” reminder that her bright future came to a tragic end.
“Just recently we got her graduation pictures developed,” said India Woods, Bausby’s best friend and classmate. “I remember when we took those pictures, she was so happy for this day to come.”
Woods said Bausby overcame a lot to be able to walk alongside her classmates at graduation. She worked hard in school and earned enough dual credit hours to get a high school diploma from Southwest High School and an associate’s degree from MCC-Penn Valley.
“She was a bright light,” said Paula Schaaf, Bausby’s advisor and coordinator for the Kansas City Public Schools Early College Academy (ECA).
“She was encouraging. She was full of life. She was excited this semester, this year, she was just thrilled with everything! She was going to graduate with her diploma and her associate’s. She had a job she loved. She’d just gotten a car. She was looking forward to prom. She had everything going for her.”
But the star student’s bright light was dimmed on March 21st when her body was found in a South KC hotel.
“My first thought was, ‘No! This can’t be! This is a mistake!’” said Schaaf, “and yeah, it just broke our hearts.”
Schaaf said the young woman was at the top of her class and destined for greatness.
“She had the whole world, the whole future in front of her,” she said.
Her murder is now a mystery.
“There was nothing that she could ever do to deserve this,” Woods said. “Like she’s such a happy, amazing person.”
But her memory was not forgotten, as Bausby’s classmates and teachers sported buttons with her picture during both her high school and MCC graduations –pledging to live a life in her honor.
“We are her legacy,” Schaaf said. “We are how she will be remembered. We are her future. And we want to let people know that we will remember her.”
Bausby was the Southwest High School Salutatorian, captain of her cheerleading squad and she had plans to attend Grambling State University in the fall.