Family of Vernece Brown celebrates her life, searches for answers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Who killed Vernece Brown? Her family prays for the answer day and night.

The 18-year-old was last seen on Valentine's Day when she went out for a date and never came home.

Emotions are running high for her family and friends because not only is someone they love gone, but they still don't know why or who took her from their lives.

The family held a vigil to remember Brown's life and plea for someone to come forward with answers.

"This is just sad. We need justice for real," said one of her family members.

This day doesn't seem real for them. It's a shocking reality that their free spirited sister and friend is gone.

"It's still unbelievable to me how somebody I see every day. I wake up seeing, and I go to sleep seeing is just gone. I'm never going to see her again, and I just feel heartbroken," said her little brother.

Brown's mother, Kimberly Travis, is inconsolable. She's left only with memories of her daughter and tears that stream down her cheeks.

"You scream. It's like your heart cries tears. You tell me how a heart cries tears?" said Rosalind Temple with Mothers in Charge. "What happened to Vernece? Only 18 years old. No mother should be burying her child. No father or mother."

"Vernece, she was like a sunflower. She was bubbly. She was energetic. She led a lot of people in a positive direction. She had a lot of friends. She was a fashionista," said her aunt, Alicia Hyler.

Brown was last seen on February 14. Back in March, her mother told FOX4 she helped her daughter get ready for a date. Brown's sister later told detectives the date was with a man in his 30s that she recently met on social media.

Brown's body was found on April 28 in rural Cass County by mushroom hunters.

"We're not thrown off by you, whoever you are. I'm asking you, I'm challenging you to be a man or woman whoever you are and turn yourself in today. Not tomorrow. Today," Temple said.

"If I could look them in the face that did that to my niece I would say, 'God is gonna whoop you. God is gonna whoop you,'" Hyler said.

Her family said on this day it's not important how she died, but how much she is loved. They released heart shaped balloons into the sky for their love to reach her in heaven.

Hyler said Vernece was working on her G.E.D., moving into her first apartment, and wanted to be a nurse because she cared so much about others.

If you know what happened to Vernece Brown her family is asking for you to come forward.  Call the Kansas City Police Department’s Missing Person’s Unit at 816-234-5136.