KENTWOOD, Mich.- Friends and family came together to remember Mujey Dumbuya on what would have been her 17 birthday. A memorial was held at Pine Hill Cemetery in Kentwood Thursday evening.

"It was just really sad, we should have been celebrating Mujey," said her aunt Janya Sannoh. " {We should be} in our houses not here at her grave but unfortunately she was killed."

Dumbuya attended East Kentwood High School before she went missing on Jan. 24, 2018. Her body was later found in the woods near Kalamazoo. Quinn James, 43, has been charged in her murder and convicted of raping her.

Dumbuya was set to testify against James in a sexual assault case before she was killed.

Dumbuya, who died at the age of 16, came to the Grand Rapids area as a refugee from Sierra Leone.

"I keep telling people, we came here for a reason. We came here as refugees, we came here to better our lives. We run away from rape. We run away from the killings. We run away from the war and we came here. And when we got here we thought it was over," said Sannoh.

James’ next trial will focus on the murder of Dumbuya.

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