Crime & Courts

Hunt continues for killer of woman in Plaza Midwood

Murder victim Katherine “Ketie” Jones.
Murder victim Katherine “Ketie” Jones. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Poliec Department

As Charlotte-Mecklenburg police continue to investigate the weekend slaying of a woman in Plaza Midwood, friends and family are left wondering whether she was the victim of a random act of violence.

Katherine “Kétie” Memory Jones, 26, was gunned down early Saturday in the 1300 block of The Plaza, about a mile from her Hawthorne Lane house. She was walking home from a night out in the neighborhood, friends said.

CMPD was called to the scene for shots fired at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday, and found Jones in a driveway behind a real estate business. She was pronounced dead at the scene by Medic.

Police have not said whether her killing was random, and have released few details about the case.

She naturally brought laughter and smiles to everyone.

Jevona Livingston, on her murdered daughter, Katherine “Kétie” Memory Jones

Homicides are rare in the Plaza Midwood area. The last one happened in July 2013 in the 2200 block of The Plaza after a motorist argued with a stranger in a crosswalk, then shot him to death.

Before a benefit concert for Jones’ family Tuesday night, her mother, Jevona Livingston, said she was trying to stay strong for her daughter, reported WBTV, the Observer’s news partner. She said she had visited the well-lit place where Jones was killed, WBTV reported, and pleaded for anyone with information to come forward.

On a GoFundMe page set up to help cover funeral expenses, Livingston said a senseless act of violence took her daughter’s life.

As she struggles with her daughter’s death, Livingston also said, “From the very moment she was born she burst into the world ready to live life to the fullest. … She naturally brought laughter and smiles to everyone.”

A makeshift memorial at the site where Jones was found had grown by midweek to include about a dozen bouquets of flowers, several candles and a pair of glazed doughnuts.

Stunned friends echoed Livingston’s sentiments in their own online tributes. They wrote of a woman who would offer them encouragement to boost their spirits, exuded a positive attitude and enjoyed just hanging out.

Jones originally was from Asheville, graduated from Providence High in 2008 and studied theater design at Marymount Manhattan College in New York, according to her Facebook page. She most recently had worked at the nearby Midwood Smokehouse restaurant for about a year.

While in high school, a couple people recalled, Jones found a baby squirrel that had lost its mother. She rescued it, fed it and brought it to school in her pocket. One woman fondly called Jones “the squirrel girl.”

At Jones’ house in Plaza Midwood, next to the turquoise rocking chair on the porch with the rainbow seat cushion, a little toy squirrel poked out of the side of her mailbox.

A memorial service in lieu of a funeral is planned for Jones for Saturday.

Friends also posted one of her journal entries. In it, Jones wrote, “I’m a molecule that time’s trying to erase but I won’t let it get to me mentally or physically.”

Database editor Gavin Off contributed.

Adam Bell: 704-358-5696, @abell