Family, friends say goodbye to murdered teen as Hillsborough deputies continue search for killer

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Friends and family of a murdered 13-year-old girl said their final goodbyes on Saturday as investigators continue to look for her killer.

The funeral for Janessa Shannon was held Saturday morning at the Happy Gospel Church in Bradenton.

Before the service, Larry Mosley told us how he feels like he has been living in a daze ever since he heard his granddaughter was murdered. 

“When I see her pictures in the house, some tears do come out. I love her a lot. I practically raised her with her mother and all,” said Mosley.

Shannon’s body was found by a hiker earlier this month in a heavily-wooded area of the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Riverview. She had previously been reported missing by her father.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating the case as a homicide.

Detectives and forensic investigators were spotted at Janessa’s father’s home days after her body was found. They say that is the last place she was seen alive on July 1.

She was not reported missing until two days later. Police say Janessa was not considered endangered because she had run away in the past.

Janessa lived with her mother in Bradenton but was staying with her father in Hillsborough County when she disappeared.

Investigators say they are not pinpointing one person of interest. They say that detectives flew out of town to interview Janessa’s father, who was out of the state for his job. They say he was cooperating but will not allow them to search his home. He has consulted with an attorney and deputies cannot talk with him now.

Shannon’s grandfather tells News Channel 8 the teen’s father was not invited to the service Saturday.

We asked Mosley if he thinks the father may have been responsible for her death.

“It is possible, yes ma’am,” answered Mosley.

Detectives are asking for help from the public as they investigate the teen’s death. They want anyone who was in the preserve and saw something to call them.

Mosley also is pleading for people with information to come call deputies.

“Please come forward. Let her family know because we need to catch the person,” he said.

Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering up to $3,000 to anyone who provides information leading to the identification and arrest of a suspect or suspects involved in the girl’s homicide.

Anyone with information should call 1-800-873-8477 or visit the Crime Stoppers website.

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