The mourners gathered in a circle, comforting one another and clutching onto the purple star-shaped balloons. A brief prayer was spoken and memories were shared.
They were there for a vigil Thursday evening to remember and honor the three lives stripped from one family suddenly and violently earlier this month in Kansas City: Shirley Muhammad, Tyla Ransom and Jaelin Ransom.
“Being with family, that’s really what strengthened us during this time,” Quiana Martin, whose mother, brother and sister were killed, told The Star ahead of the vigil Thursday night. “The family getting together and helping us out through this rough time is really empowering right now.”
Around 50 people gathered for the celebration of their lives Thursday evening in Sanford Brown Plaza, a few short blocks from where the three were found stabbed to death on July 15 in their home in the 3200 block of Woodland Avenue. Rahman Muhammad, 38, the eldest son of the family, has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder in the killings.
In the days before she was killed, Shirley Muhammad had expressed concern about his mental state and a previously diagnosed psychological condition, according to court records.
Police were sent to the family home on July 15 after the three had not been heard from over the course of two days. Martin, who lives in Texas, was unable to reach her family by phone and asked her niece to check the house. And she was on the phone with her niece when police arrived and declared the area a crime scene, Martin said.
Family is still trying to come to grips with the deaths, Martin said. And they are still shocked and searching for answers about what happened.
“Until this goes to trial, and whatever comes out of that, we won’t necessarily know what happened,” Martin said.
“So at this time, we just don’t know.”
It is not the first time Martin and her siblings have experienced the tragedy of losing a family member violently. The three year anniversary of her other sister’s killing is coming up. Now, as she prepares to attend three funeral services this Saturday, she and her family are relying on the support of one another to endure.
The Star’s Bill Lukitsch contributed to this report.