Memorial services were held this week for Sanaa Amenhotep, the 15-year-old daughter of New Jersey social justice activist Sharif Amenhotep who was found dead by police in South Carolina after missing since April.
Sanaa was memorialized in Blythewood, S.C. on Monday at Dokos Meadow Park. Another memorial service was held Wednesday in Newark at Weequahic High School stadium.
She was the first-born daughter to Sharif of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition and the New Black Panther Party. Sanaa was abducted on April 5 after leaving her home in Columbia, S.C. with her peers before she was abducted. Sanaa was found dead on April 28 in a wooded area in nearby Leesville, S.C. Police say she was shot 11 times.
Three suspects were arrested for the abduction and killing, including two juveniles. One of them was a female juvenile who Sanaa believed was her friend. Police say Sanaa was lured away by the trio and 18-year-old Traveon Nelson was the driving force behind the kidnapping and murder.
In a local news interview, Sanaa’s mother, Saleemah Graham-Fleming, said her daughter got into a car with the two juveniles and the 18-year-old was not aware that the group had other plans. Graham-Fleming said what she wants now is justice.
“She was defenseless,” Graham-Fleming said. “There’s really no stars to get for what you did because this was a defenseless person.”
Reports indicate that charges include murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
“This is a complex and multilayered investigation,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said in one local report. “Over the past few days, we talked a lot with the two minors as we were searching for Nelson. Based on information from those interviews, detectives determined there was probable cause to arrest the teens. Nelson was arrested in this case as soon as we found him Friday evening.”
Upon Sanaa’s disappearance, her father immediately left his home in Newark and met the national team of the New Black Panther Party, who joined him from their Texas base.
“Sharif is very upset, devastated and broken,” said LaKeesha Eure, who is the family’s spokesperson. “He is surrounded by family and friends from several states.”