CLEVELAND-- An entire community banded together Tuesday evening to support a grieving family, as they make a desperate plea to a young woman’s killer. They are calling on the person who tossed a 21-year-old pregnant mother onto a downtown Cleveland freeway to turn themselves in to police.
Hundreds of people expressed an overwhelming outpouring of love for Vonnashia Akins. Family, friends and community members gathered for a vigil in front of her home on Parkgate Avenue in Cleveland.
"Her murder just was senseless. There's no reason that young lady had to leave here the way she did," a member of the community group Black Man Army told the crowd.
"Everybody in Cleveland, Ohio knew Vonnashia," said Wendy Stephens, her grandmother.
"My baby didn't deserve this. She didn't deserve to die. She didn't deserve to get pushed out on no freeway," said Monique Blair, the victim’s mother.
Cleveland police said someone pushed Vonnashia out of a vehicle onto Interstate 90 during Monday's evening rush hour and kept going.
"We were all just doing everything we possibly could and just, nothing... It was to no avail," said Ron Cornett, witness.
Witnesses told FOX 8 several drivers pulled over to help Vonnashia, treating what appeared to them as a gunshot wound. The medical examiner has not released an official cause of her death.
"He know who he is, he need to turn himself in. I mean, if it was an accident, why wouldn't you go to the hospital or why wouldn't you stay there?" Blair said.
Cleveland police have not released information about a possible suspect, but Vonnashia's family said she was currently in a violent relationship. There have been no arrests and homicide detectives are investigating.
"He been beating on her. Yes, she's been scared. He pistol-whipped her the other week," her mother said.
Vonnashia leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter and relatives said she was pregnant with her second child.
"How could you kill a new life inside her? That wasn't just her, that was her and a new baby," Stephens said.
Vonnashia’s family said she just started taking classes and was studying to be a nurse. They said she will always be remembered for her huge personality and sense of humor.