Jania Tatum, 15, identified as girl killed in Baytown park

BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) – Baytown police are investigating the murder of 15-year-old Jania Tatum after she was found in a city park early Tuesday morning.

Around 8:15 a.m. when police were called to Tejas Park in the 500 block of Hafer Avenue. Police said an officer arrived and found the teenager lying on the grass, unresponsive, with blood stains on his chest.

While the cause of death has yet to be determined, police say it is a homicide and they are actively searching for her killer.

“They took away my best friend. They took away my best friend. Literally, that’s my best friend,” said her mother, Angie Tatum.

Jania is a sophomore at Sterling High School at Goose Creek CISD, where she runs track and field, earning a letterwriter’s jacket.

Her mother says that Jania is loved by teachers, coaches and principals, and that she has big dreams for a future in the Navy.

“She went to the army. She’s going to the Navy to nurse. She can’t do that now,” Angie said.

This shocking death comes without warning, rhyme or reason.

Angie told ABC13: “My daughter is famous all over Baytown. “Everybody loves her. Nobody’s doing well right now. I’m not good. I don’t know if I’ll ever be good at this.”

Goose Creek CISD said it is aware of Jania’s death and is ready to staff in January when schools reopen.

Baytown police are still working to put together a timeline of Jania’s death. The girl’s mother said she last saw her daughter around 11 p.m. Monday night when she went to bed. She believes her daughter left their apartment that night to meet someone, telling ABC13 that the teen had left a plate of half-eaten food.

Police are still looking for information and are asking the public for help.

Baytown Police Chief John Stringer said: “There is no information so small that it would not help us in this case.

You can leave anonymous tips with Baytown Crime Stoppers at 281-427-TIPS (8477).

For updates on this story, follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. Copyright Registered. Jania Tatum, 15, identified as girl killed in Baytown park

Dais Johnston

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