FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland teen whose body was found a day before her 18th birthday along a trail in Frederick may have been targeted, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

The body of 17-year-old Ty’kerria Dawson of Hagerstown was found around 5 p.m. Saturday in a wooded area located behind Briargrove Court. Her sister confirmed to WJZ that Ty’kerria was found dead.

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While the sheriff’s office said she may have been targeted, they didn’t provide further details about who may have killed her or why.

Family members and friends who would have been planning a birthday celebration are instead planning a funeral.

“(She was) just a great child, you know. It’s just a tragedy. Her life just started, and for somebody to take it from her, it’s just not fair,” neighbor Aquavia Leaks said.

Ty’kerria Dawson. Photo provided.

Isabelle Weissend told WJZ she found Dawson’s body along the trail.

“When I saw her, I screamed and she didn’t even flinch. She wasn’t moving or anything,” Weissend recalled.

She showed WJZ where she came upon Dawson’s body.

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“My eyes just went to her face first,” she said.

Weissend and her mother left red roses and a Happy Birthday balloon at the scene Sunday, which would have been Dawson’s 18th birthday. She recently graduated from Antietam Academy in Hagerstown.


The trail where Dawson’s body was found runs along a stream near several homes and a quiet area.

An autopsy is underway at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover Dawson’s funeral expenses.

“Tootie was highly favored always smiling if you knew her you had no choice but to love her,” the page reads.

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The investigation into the girl’s death remains ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call Detective Skelley at 301-600-4017. Tips can also be left anonymously on the sheriff’s office tip line at 301-600-4131.

Ava-joye Burnett