Metro teen murdered in 2017 remembered by parents, friends on what would be 21st birthday

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A Fort Scott, Kansas family was in the metro Sunday to remember the life of their teenager who was taken from this world too soon.

Two years ago, Mikayla's Norris was tragically killed just days before her 19th birthday.

"Just a little piece of you is kind of like dead, it's not there anymore," Noriss' Mom Jyandi Santhuff said.

Candles sat on a table where Norris would have sat customers in 2017. She was a hostess at Jack Stack Barbecue in Overland Park.

"This is the last place she was before she went missing," Santhuff said.

Missing until a Facebook post by her believed to be killer, Kareem McCoy-Lee, led police to her body. It was discovered at 85th St. and Hillcrest.

Police say he later killed himself in Norris' car behind the Liberty Academy Sports.

Norris' mom says the pair met on tinder and now warns other parents and young adults about dating app safety.

"Last thing she said when I talked to her about getting on to the dating...websites and meeting up with people was, 'Not everyone’s bad mom'. So, I still play that in my head," Santhuff said. "So, just make sure you talk with your kids about meeting up with people."

"Watching her go through this," Norris' Stepdad Chris Santhuff said, "that really hurts."

Chris said Norris didn't know a stranger and her bright bubbly personality lit up any room.

"For the little time that she was here," Chris said with tears in his eyes. "She touched a lot of hearts - done a lot of good."

One of those hearts being former coworker Anthony Guerrero.

Although they only knew each other a short time, Guerrero says he'll continue to honor her memory with a vigil.

"I feel her presence in my life all the time," Guerrero said. "I think about her all the time."

"He's honoring her every year," Santhuff said. "Which is amazing to me that somebody's doing that for my daughter."

So on what would be Norris' 21st birthday, her four siblings, parents and friends raise a glass in celebration of her life.

"I love you. I miss you," Santhuff said. "I mean, I talk to her everyday so I know she's with me."

Norris' mom says her family will continue to make the hour and a half trip to Overland Park, year after year, to remember their daughter.

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