Mujey Dumbuya: 16-Year-Old Set To Testify In Rape Case, Found Dead In Michigan
Mujey Dumbuya, a 16-year-old girl from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a young woman thrust into an uncomfortable situation. She was propped up as a key witness in a sex abuse case and was awaiting to take the stand against her accuser.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker told local media that Mujey was the victim in a criminal sexual conduct case against 42-year-old Quinn Anthony James. As of now, authorities are viewing him as a “person of interest” in the girl’s slaying.
James has been charged with four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in the case, according to multiple news outlets. His trial was set for April and Mujey, as an alleged victim, was courageously going to take the stand. But now she is dead.
Her body was found in the woods by a couple out for a stroll, according to West Michigan TV station WWMT.
“Please tell me it’s a bad dream and I wake up from this dream because it’s a tragedy. We did not see it coming,” Dumbuya’s aunt, Jainya Sannoh, told Wood TV.
On the morning of January 24, 2018 she set out to catch the bus to go to school at East Kentwood High School. James happened to be a maintenance worker there. He began working there in 2011 and stopped as recently as November 2017.
Among the allegations that have surfaced is that James allegedly forced the girl to have sex with him multiple times. According to WWMT, the teen told police she was raped in a car in a school parking lot, with the attacker saying: "There is something about you. I could stop, but I just can't."
James gave a jailhouse interview with WoodTV, denying that he has even met the girl. “It’s ridiculous. It makes no frickin’ sense," he told the TV station. "That’s what I have to say about that,” James said. “My condolences go out to her, my condolences go out to her family, but the bottom line is: I have nothing to do with that, I know nothing about it. That’s it.”
He then goes on to say: “I never had a relationship with Mujey Dumbuya. "You guys are reporting all these things that are not true. I sit here and I watch all your news reports and the things that you’re reporting are absolutely false.”
School Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff said that James’ failure to be forthcoming with his criminal past led to his swift dismissal from the campus.
“He had very little contact with students, and none as part of his job responsibilities,” Zoerhoff said in a written statement. “However, when the criminal charges came to the attention of the school leadership, the district took immediate action to investigate, interview and subsequently terminate the employment of Mr. James.”
Appearing before a judge the second week of April 2018, James laughed when he was officially charged with murder and kidnapping. He was denied bond.
In an email statement directed at James and sent out by a family attorney on behalf of Mujey's mother, Fatmata Corneh, it says: "You have no idea what you have put me and my family through. you broke us into pieces." An aunt said the family is shocked and heartbroken. And that they are both happy but sad because Mujey is not here to see this day.
James was actually arrested by Wyoming police on February 1 on an unrelated charge involving criminal sexual conduct from an incident in 2014, according to Wood TV. The prosecutor in that case decline to prosecute due to “insufficient evidence,” the TV station reports.
Meanwhile, friends and family of Mujey remain heartbroken. The following statement was released by Mujey’s family on Thursday and published by Wood TV:
“We are heartbroken, devastated and overwhelmed with grief over the death of our beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and cousin.
Mujey was a generous, energetic young woman with a radiant smile and an adventurous spirit.
Mujey was a very good student who loved school. She had a close circle of friends, and was loved by everyone that knew her. Mujey loved music and dancing. She took classes in dance, martial arts and archery. Mujey was looking forward to graduating from high school next year. She wanted to be a police officer to help fight against social injustice, including racism.
We ask that everyone, including those in the media, respect our request for privacy as we mourn Mujey’s death. We also ask that the media refrain from publishing photographs and video of the children in our family. Their safety and sense of security is our most urgent concern. Thank you.”
Authorities are asking anyone with information on Mujey Dumbuya’s whereabouts between the time she was reported missing and when her body was found to call KDPS at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.