Teen killed in murder-suicide honored during Riverdale H.S. graduation ceremony

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Riverdale High School honored the life of a student who would have graduated this May.

Sa'Myah Necole Copeland would be 18 this month and would be walking to receive her diploma from Riverdale High School. Unfortunately, her life was cut way too short.

On October 3, 2016, she was found dead at a home on Montego Circle after police received a shot-fired call. Investigators think the 16-year-old girl was gunned down by her on-again, off-again boyfriend before he turned the gun on himself. Her mother said there were no signs of trouble with the 15-year-old boy her daughter dated off and on with parental supervision for two years.

Friday, her mother, Tuwanna Copeland, walked across the stage and accepted a diploma on her daughter's behalf.


RELATED: Police ID Riverdale High students found dead as murder-suicide victims

Since her death, her family members have become outspoken against gun violence. They have held several events, including on what would have been her 17th birthday April 16, 2018.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 2015 survey found that nearly 12 percent of high-school girls reported physical violence and nearly 16 percent reported sexual violence from a dating partner. More than 7 percent of high-school boys reported physical violence and about 5 percent reported sexual violence from a dating partner.


Tuwanna Copeland hopes other parents will ask their teens some tough questions about how they're being treated by their friends and companions. And she thinks basic coping skills and nonviolent conflict resolution also should be part of those conversations.

RELATED: Family honors murdered 16-year-old with walk against gun violence