RIVERVIEW (FOX 13) - The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said the body of a missing teenager was found on Wednesday.
The decomposed remains of 13-year-old Janessa Shannon, who had been reported missing by family members, were found by a hiker in the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Riverview on Wednesday. She was not publicly identified until Saturday.
Deputies previously said that Shannon was a habitual runaway. The sheriff's office is now investigating the case as a homicide.
Janessa Shannon's mother and stepfather are clinging to precious memories while holding in their hearts, the worst pain a parent could feel.
"That was our baby. That was our baby girl," said stepfather Clifford Shannon.
"She was very loving, caring and had a heart of gold," said mother Michelle Mosley. "Justice is the only thing we want right now. And, it's not gonna make anything better, it's not gonna bring her back, it's definitely not going to help me sleep at night."
Janessa's mom says the 13-year-old vanished at the beginning of July. No contact. No sightings. It's not something she said Janessa would normally do.
"She didn't have a history of running away. She never ran away before and that's how it was treated," said Mosley.
Her family posted signs and shared pictures online but heard nothing.
Then, on Wednesday, a hiker found a body in a heavily wooded area in Riverview. Saturday brought devastating news that it was Janessa.
"A beautiful young lady, had such a beautiful future, had everything going for her and was taken way too soon," said Clifford Shannon. "And, for what?"
Her mom says Janessa was staying with her biological father, Nahshon Shannon in Riverview when he claimed she ran away. We stopped by on Saturday and found a heavy sheriff's office presence at his home, including Forensic Services vehicles.
"She was just a beautiful girl, just loved everybody, everything," Mosley said. "She was so kind-hearted, so sensitive, just so soft."
Janessa's family wants answers. Most importantly, they want whoever did this to be held responsible for the young life they stole.
"Just to know the person that did this to her is behind bars or anything else it might give me a little comfort but it's still not enough. It won't ever be enough," Mosley said.
"We need her to be at peace right now and she's not at peace until her murderer comes to light," Shannon said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact HCSO.