Mujey Dumbuya, a promising 16-year-old Michigan student, was prepared to testify against the man who allegedly raped her when she mysteriously disappeared back in January. Now, police believe he killed her to keep her quiet.
According to Kent County prosecutor Christopher Becker, Quinn Anthony James, 42, has been charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder, and premeditated first-degree murder after evidence linked him to Dumbuya’s disappearance and he “lied to investigators about his whereabouts on the day the victim was taken and killed.”
Another man, Gerald Bennett, has also been charged with perjury and conspiracy to commit first degree murder after police believe he helped James kill the teen and dispose her body.
Both men are facing life in prison.
Dumbuya was last seen on Jan. 25 when she left home to catch the bus to school. Authorities say she was abducted before ever making it onboard, and her body was found three days later in the woods approximately 50 miles from home. According to the medical examiner, the teen’s cause of death was listed as "homicide by asphyxia, including strangulation."
In a statement of probable cause from Grand Rapids police, investigators suspected James of the teen’s murder as soon as her body was identified due to the pending rape case. After accusing James of sexually assaulting her in the parking lot of a school last year, the suspect was scheduled to go to trial on April 9. Before Dumbuya could testify against him, however, she disappeared while James, a three time convicted felon, was out on $100,000 bond.
According to the affidavit from police, "Witnesses were located who establish that James sought out someone to assist him in her murder and disposal of her body and that he paid the accomplice.” Furthermore, “records place James in close proximity to the victim's home and bus stop the night before she went missing. On the day she went missing, images from a trail camera captured a black Acadia in close proximity to where the body was found."
Police say James gave Bennett a vehicle as payment for helping him murder Dumbuya, and "Bennett is also captured on video with James the day before the abduction and murder where James is wiring money to Bennett's girlfriend."
While James has denied killing his teenage accuser, Becker said authorities believe they "have an idea of what exactly happened.”
Though Becker said Dumbuya’s family were happy James was charged in the teen’s death, her mother, Fatmata Corneh, had a heartbreaking message for her daughter’s killers.
“You have no idea what you have put me and my family through,” she said. “You broke us into pieces.”.