STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV)- The family of a 17-year old girl who was shot and killed Sunday morning is begging the community for answers
According to Statesboro Police, officers responded to East Georgia Regional Medical Center at 12:52 a.m. in response to a female who had been brought in with a gunshot wound. The victim died at the hospital a short time later.
The victim has been identified as 17-year-old Haley Hutcheson of Reidsville.
At this point in the investigation police say they are looking for witnesses from several counties. Family members tell News 3 they are shattered, but they hold no hate in their heart they just want justice.
“We told each other everything,” said Breanna Ernst, Hutcheson’s sister.
Ernst never imagined life without her little sister. She describes Hutcheson as her confidant, best friend, and someone she thought she could protect.
“You took a beautiful child from this sister, that child did not deserve to get what she got,”said Robert Baggett, Hutcheson’s grandfather.
Family members said she was a typical scrunchy wearing teenager with a mind of her own.
“She would express, especially with us, that she was closest to her opinions in a joking manner never disrespectful,” said Heather Ernst, Hutcheson’s Aunt.
SPD says detectives have interviewed multiple potential witnesses and persons of interest. Preliminary evidence suggests that Hutcheson was shot while traveling in a vehicle on the bypass south of the Brannen Street intersection. It appears the gunshots came from another vehicle on the bypass.
Investigators say Hutcheson was brought to the emergency room by the other people in the vehicle with her.
“We have witnesses potentially who are in other counties and we need to reach out to them in way that we just can’t do with boots on the ground here in Statesboro,” said Captain Jared Aikens with SPD.
Hutcheson’s uncle attended the media conference in a ‘justice for Haley’ t-shirt. He says he forgives whoever’s involved, but he needs them to come forward.
“Our state, our counties need this message right here more than anything, “said Brent Holcombe, Hutcheson’s uncle, “there can be mercy, there can be forgiveness, but justice has to be served.”
Hutcheson’s is counting on the community to bring her niece’s murder to justice.
“I ask that if you have any information to reach out so that you can give us some comfort for what happened to our Haley,” said Ernst.
Hutcheson would have been a junior in high school next year. Family says she celebrated her 17th birthday just last month. Detectives do not believe the shooting was random.
“If Haley was here, she’d say paps, I forgive them,” said Holcombe.
Police are asking anyone with information to please call the Statesboro Police Department at 912-764-9911. You can also submit an anonymous tip online here.