BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Family members and friends came together Wednesday to remember a Birmingham teenager who was found dead more than two years after he was reported missing.
Daniel Rickett was just 17 years old when he disappeared in 2018. His skeletal remains were found in late July in and around a vehicle that had been burned. It was found in a wooded area off 2nd Place SW in west Birmingham.
His family continues to seek answers as no arrests have been announced.
“I miss my child and the love and joy he brought to all of us,” said Jennifer Rickett, Daniel’s mother.
Rickett described the past few years as an emotional roller coaster, especially before her son’s body was found.
“Can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t rest, it’s been hell. Chaos for the whole family,” she said.
Family members have no idea who would want to cause harm to Daniel Rickett. He was a Carver High School student at the time of his disappearance. His family said he had goals to join the military after graduation.
“He was going to the military to the Air Force. He played lacrosse. He played golf. He was on the drama team, part of the choir. Like I said, a very entertaining person,” Jennifer said.
“We are praying even now that justice [will] be served in this case, that it does not turn into a cold case,” godmother Juanita Kirksey said.
Kirksey said the family is still full of unanswered questions. An autopsy revealed Rickett had been shot, but loved ones don’t know much else.
“What happened to Daniel? What did they do? Did he suffer? I mean, that was the most terrifying nightmare any family, any mother could go through,” Kirksey said.
Kirksey helped organize Wednesday’s vigil. Dozens of people attended to pay respects.
“When you met him, you knew he was there. He didn’t mean a stranger, I mean he was just bubbly,” Kirksey said.
Loved ones will gather for a burial this weekend, but there is no goodbye for his mother.
“I ask my baby everyday, along with God, to guide me,” Jennifer Rickett said.
Rickett’s family continues to lean on faith in their quest for justice. They know someone has that final piece of information that can end the family’s nightmare.
“I ask the Lord to have mercy on them, as well as our family, to do the right thing, to do the right thing, you made enough mistakes, make one right, do the right thing and come forward,” Jennifer Rickett said.
The case remains under investigation and no additional updates were available as of Wednesday, according to the Birmingham Police Department.
If you know anything that can help investigators, call Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama at 205-254-7777.
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