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The kidnapped 15-year-old daughter of a Newark, New Jersey, anti-violence activist has been found dead in South Carolina, according to her family and the local sheriff.
Sanaa Amenhotep — the daughter of Brick City Peace Collective member Sharif Malik Amenhotep — was found Thursday after a three-week search, officials announced.
“My first heir Sanaa Mahari Amenhotep I can’t believe she gone from us,” her father wrote on Facebook alongside a series of family images.
“You shattered the hearts of my entire family the pain I will never be the same,” wrote Amenhotep
“I’m sorry Princess I didn’t protect u,” he also wrote. “I promise u will never ever leave my heart or mind … I would lay down my life for u … I love u so much,” he wrote.
Amenhotep — whose group aims to “reduce violence and strengthen relationships between law enforcement” in Newark — had traveled to South Carolina to help in the search and put up a $10,000 reward.
His teen daughter was last seen April 5 when she left her house in Columbia with another teen girl and two males, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.
She is believed to have gone with them voluntarily but “once she was with them it then turned into a kidnapping,” Lott said.
Lott said deputies believe the girl left voluntarily with the group to begin with, “but at that point once she was with them it then turned into a kidnapping.”
The sheriff said the kidnapping and death was believed to be linked to gang activity, but did not elaborate.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested and faces charges of kidnapping, officials said. He is being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and it is not clear if he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
The sheriff’s office appealed for help in finding another suspect, 18-year-old Treveon Jamar Nelson, who is expected to face the same charges upon his arrest.
“I told the parents we would bring her home and we’ve done that,” the sheriff said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t bring her home the way that we all prayed and wished that we could.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka sent the grieving activist “sincere condolences” from “the people of Newark” over “the tragic loss of his beautiful and intelligent Black daughter, Sanaa Amenhotep, who was kidnapped and murdered in South Carolina.”
“No parent should ever have to bury their child. It is an inexplicable loss that defies imagination,” Baraka said.
“Our entire city is joining with the Amenhotep family in their grief and pain,” he said.
He praised the activist for “tirelessly” working to “increase justice and reduce violence in our neighborhoods … helping us to re-imagine public safety and prevent tragedies such as this from taking place in our very own community.”
With Post wires
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