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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The mother of a Memphis teenager whose body was found in an abandoned apartment building is trying to find his killer and get some answers.

Arlene Cunigan has experienced a pain that no parent should ever have to endure. Last August, Cunigan’s adoptive son, 19-year-old Dontavious McKinzy, was murdered.

Cunigan said she felt something was wrong when no one had seen or heard from him in several days. She really got worried when she found out that her son hadn’t been to work and didn’t pick up his paycheck.

That’s when she called police.

“I know my son, he just ain’t going to disappear and not call or tell he where he at,” Cunigan said. “I rode around Orange Mound looking for him and showing pictures.”

She called all of his friends. No one had seen him.

Her search ended in a vacant building inside the Warren Apartments on Clementine, where she made an unthinkable discovery.

“I’m walking saying, ‘Lord, give me a sign, send my child home or let me know if he is in jail or something,’” she said. “I walk up on him lying in the middle of the floor.”  

Police say Dontavious had been shot multiple times.

Cunigan says she wants justice and an answer to one question:

“Why? What did he do so wrong for you to kill him? He ain’t nothing, we ain’t no money, we are surviving just like everybody else.”

Cunigan said the trauma of finding her son’s body has turned her life upside down.

“I’m sorry, I was supposed to be your shield and your protector, baby, and I’m sorry I was not there to protect you,” she said.

If you know who killed Dontavious McKinzy,  call Memphis Police at (901) 528-CASH. All calls are confidential.