A Tennessee State University student was found dead lying on a Michigan road days after returning home for summer break.
Surveillance video reportedly showed Mia Kanu either falling or being pushed out of a vehicle onto the street. Police are treating her death as a homicide.
Officers from the Southfield Police Department discovered the unresponsive body of the 23-year-old in front of the Coach House Apartments on Providence Drive on June 3, around 4:32 a.m., according to the Detroit Free Press.
She was immediately transported to Ascension Providence Hospital, where she was placed on life support for two days. Her mother said doctors pronounced her dead two days later but kept her on life support for three additional days because her organs were going to be donated to someone in need.
“There was no brain activity. Her liver went to a baby, her kidneys went to a recipient, and her tissues and muscles were donated to the Gift of Life,” said Bianca Vanmeter, her mother, adding that she looked “like a beautiful angel lying in bed” during those last days.
Detectives are attempting to piece together what happened in the last hours of her life, hoping to find clues to her premature demise.
According to her mother, she saw her daughter on the morning of June 2, right before she left home for work. It would be the last time she saw her daughter alive.
Kanu was later picked up from her summer job at the Green Lantern restaurant by a female friend who had been staying with them and taken to a party. The car that the friend used to pick Kanu up from the eatery was identified as the same vehicle involved in the incident, the mother said.
“She was with her friends, and from my understanding, she was thrown out or fell out of a vehicle. She was found on the side of the road, and she was left there,” said Vanmeter. “I want to know what really happened and if they were with friends, why wouldn’t they call 911?”
Authorities on the case say there is very little known about why the young woman ended up in the street when she was supposed to be at the gathering. WXYZ states that they were told she was ejected from a car and a passerby called 911.
“Was it an accident? Was she pushed? And those are the questions that we’re trying to have answered at this point in time. Can’t get into the entire autopsy results, but she did have significant head trauma,” said Southfield Police Department Deputy Chief Jeffrey Jagielski.
“It’s our understanding that there was an argument between the driver and another individual in the parking lot of the apartment complex that they had left,” Jagielski said to FOX 2.
Sgt. Jared Womble, a spokesperson for the Southfield department, says the driver has been cooperating with them to help figure out the details of Kanu’s final moments before she was found in the roadway.
“Anytime there is an unnatural death, especially concerning a young person, it is treated as a homicide,” Womble said.
A GoFundMe has been set up by her mother to help with her funeral expenses. Vanmeter is hoping to raise $50,000 for the funeral and memorial service but has received a little over $34,000 in ten days.
Before her service on Monday, June 12, friends and family members gathered for a candlelight vigil in Inglenook Park to honor the young woman’s life. Friends wrote notes to Kanu’s mother and shared memories of their time with the aspiring veterinarian.
Kanu is described as a sweet person with a great love for animals. She even adopted a cat while in college, which she named Tails.
Reflecting on the adoption of Tails, her mother said, “I remember telling her when she got home from school, ‘Girl, this cat is raunchy.'”
To fulfill her dream of being a vet, she was a part of TSU’s Agriculture Department. Her mother said she enjoyed working on farms and tending to the animals there. Kanu was fully engaged on her path to becoming an animal doctor and was working as a veterinary technician at Richland Animal Clinic in Tennessee.
Dawn Elza, manager of Richland Animal Clinic, released a statement about the slain worker, saying, “Kanu was very passionate about educating pet owners about pet care.”
“She knew all the names and personalities of all the pet boarders that would regularly board with us, and she had big goals and dreams of having her own business and being a veterinarian,” Elza continued.