RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Dozens gathered at George Wythe High School to remember the life of 17-year-old Tionna Hill on Thursday.
She was killed in a hit-and-run New Year’s Day on Midlothian Turnpike. Her family said the mother of two was just 17 days away from turning 18.
Though her family said Tionna’s life was taken too soon, the crowd that gathered with red and white balloons in hand made it known in song that she wouldn’t soon be forgotten.
“All she wanted to do was turn 18 and live her life be there for her kids, but she’s in a better place, God has her now,” Tionna’s eldest brother, Shaquille Brown-Banks, said.
Tionna was killed after being struck by a vehicle on Midlothian Turnpike, following an argument with a man whom she was in a relationship who fathered one of her two children.
It’s a reality that is still hard to accept for Tionna’s mother, Verna Hill, and her brothers who fought back tears during the vigil.
“I was just hoping that she would come through the door and just knock on the door or call me and ask me to pick her up like she used to do every day,” Verna Hill said.
On a cold Thursday night in front of George Wythe High School, prayers were spoken aloud and a letter was read to Tionna’s mother on behalf of the Richmond School Board offering their condolences to the grief-stricken family.
In lieu of candles, cellphones were lit to remember the teen.
The 17-year-old’s family said they will remember her smile the most.
“Even if she (was) mad, she still going to smile," Brown-Banks said,” “She never was down, you never seen her sad.”
The vigil ended with balloons being released into the air with many of them flowing right back to Midlothian Village apartments, a sight that brought comfort to Tionna’s mother.
“When we put the balloons up, it went straight to where she would always like to hang too,” said Hill. “For some reason, God led those balloons back to Midlothian Village.”
Police are still investigating and have not filed any charges in her death.
A Chesterfield-based tailoring business called ‘Itz Me Creations,’ announced Thursday during the vigil that it will be making a dress for Tionna for her funeral Tuesday.