When 11-year-old McKenzie Sessoms was found raped and murdered in her own home, the community and her family couldn't imagine who could possibly do such a thing. Now the possible answer is almost more than her family can bear. A 14-year-old friend of the family has been arrested in the case. Because he is a juvenile, he won't be named. His grandfather, Howard Jones, said the boy was living with him at the time of the murder. The teen was reportedly friends with McKenzie's brother, and the Sessoms and Jones families all knew each other and lived near each other in Clinton, North Carolina.
While the sheriff on the case, Sheriff Jimmy Thornton, would not comment on whether the two families knew each other, the family readily spoke to reporters and made it clear that they did. Said McKenzie's grandmother, Cathy Starke, to reporters:
I don’t know what made him [allegedly] do it, but I hope that he’s realized that he’s really messed up his life as well as taking McKenzie away from us.
McKenzie was reportedly raped and then suffocated. She was found by her father as he went to wake her for school.
I can't imagine the horror this family went through -- seeing their 11-year-old daughter dead in her own bed. Reportedly, McKenzie's brother had had a "rowdy gathering" with friends the night before the murder.
Police collected DNA from more than a dozen people before finally arresting the teen, who authorities will only identify as under 16, but who Howard Jones says is 14.
You do not think that evil will come smiling into your own home, welcomed into your home as a friend. You don't think your guard has to be up with the friends of your children. If the teen is found guilty, he has surely torn apart two families.
One thing is certain, beautiful little McKenzie, who wanted to be a nurse or a teacher, deserved a much better life than this.
Do stories like this make you rethink the people you let into your family's life?
Image via WNCN