Police investigating death of 18-year-old Ben Davis student as a potential homicide

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 23, 2016)-- Indianapolis police said Wednesday they are investigating the death of an 18-year-old Ben Davis High School senior as a potential homicide.

IMPD found the body of 18-year-old Renia Woods in the 1400 block of Campbell Avenue Monday morning.

Woods was a senior at Ben Davis High School. Her mother said she was a good student and had plans to enroll at Indiana State in the fall to study finance.

Wednesday yellow crime scene tape hung from a post at the dumpster on Campbell Avenue where detectives found the body of Renia Woods.

“She didn’t deserve that. She was so much better than that,” said Jackie Taylor, Woods’ mother.

A teddy bear and roses sat gingerly to the side.

“Knowing that she’s never coming home no more, I’m never going to see her again,” Taylor said through tears, “I just know that it wasn’t like her. She would never leave her brothers and sisters. She would never do it, so I feel like somebody took her against her will.”

Metro police said Renia was babysitting her four siblings at the family’s home on the west side, near 38th Street and High School Road, last Friday night, March 18th.

Investigators said Renia told her 5-year-old brother she was stepping outside, and that was the last time anyone saw her.

Her mother Jackie filed a missing persons report with police the next day, Saturday, March 19th.

Then Sunday, she posted a public plea on Facebook.

Then, Monday, March 21st, Renia’s body was found behind a dumpster on the east side, clear across the city, with few clues as to how it got there.

“Although we don’t have a cause of death at this time, it very well could turn into a homicide later on,” said IMPD Detective Marcus Kennedy.

The coroner listed the cause of death as undetermined. But Kennedy said toxicology reports have been expedited, and they are awaiting more complete results from medical examiners. They expect more information in the next two weeks.

He said though there were no obvious signs of trauma on Renia’s body, there could be internal injuries.

“There’s certain evidence there that may be a homicide, but again, the doctors will have to come to that conclusion,” he said.

Kennedy said he believes there’s a two hour window of time Friday night between 10 p.m. and midnight that is key to figuring out what happened to Renia.

“We’re trying to find anybody that saw her with them, saw who might’ve been outside her house or even the apartment complex where she was found,” he said.

Jackie Taylor calls her daughter a good girl who stayed out of trouble and focused on her studies.

“She didn’t run the streets. She didn’t go out. She didn’t go to parties,” she said.

Taylor is begging those who know about Renia’s last moments to speak up and give her daughter some dignity.

“I’d ask them to come forward and say what happened to my baby. She didn’t deserve this,” she said.

IMPD asks anyone with information about the case to call the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475.

Funeral arrangements for Renia Woods are not yet complete.


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