Charlotte Mecklenburg Police said they're conducting a death investigation after the body of a high school senior was found outside the house where she was staying.
Officers were called to assist Medic on Thursday morning at the home on Willow Gate Lane.
Family and friends said the victim was 18-year-old Shania Hammonds, who attended Mallard Creek High School.
A man who identified himself as Hammonds' step father said "Shania was getting ready to graduate. She was a beautiful person. She was going to the service. She had a lot ahead of her. She hadn’t even lived her life yet."
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Relatives said Hammond was staying with a friend's grandmother, who was out of town the last couple of days.
Family members said they had been trying to get in contact with Hammonds but she never responded.
Her friends said she was in school on Tuesday but they didn't see or hear from her on Wednesday.
"They had been looking for her for the past day or so cause my sister was supposed to pick her up for school," said Stewart Cole, Jr. "My mom had came up here early this morning – it was kinda dark so she couldn’t really see so she was looking for her but she couldn’t find her so she came a little later like around 8am and was looking around. I guess she must have looked in the backyard near the shed, that’s where found Shania."
Police and the Medical Examiner's Office are trying to determine if Hammonds' death was natural, accidental, or suspicious.
Cole said he has questions.
"Just wanted to know what happened to her - who did it? What did it? Something. How she get back there. I know she didn’t walk back there – no socks."
Multiple police vehicles could be seen outside the home, which was blocked off with crime scene tape.
Cole said Hammonds and his sister were friends for years. He remembers Hammonds as "Funny. She had a lot of energy. Original kinda. She’s like - I can’t find nobody like her. She’s an original girl there.
He said "she was real cool though, full of energy. She used to be out here a lot. She used to go walking. I guess she liked nature."