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Family and loved ones of Ja'Nya Hebert asks "why" after juvenile suspect taken into custody

The family of Ja'Nya Hebert, the 16-year-old who was murdered on July 11, says that a suspect being in custody won't bring her back.

Posted: Jul 16, 2021 8:02 AM

LAFAYETTE, LA (KADN)- The family and loved ones of Ja’Nya Hebert, the 16-year-old who was murdered this past weekend, are still mourning her death. On Tuesday, Lafayette police announced that they arrested a juvenile suspect.

Kysha Mouton, the mother of Ja’Nya, said that getting the call about someone being in custody was a relief, but it doesn’t make anything better.

“That's still not gone bring my baby back. Because that mother can still see her child. I can't. The only memories I can is pictures, videos. I can't hug my child anymore. I can't kiss her,” Mouton said.

Lafayette police said that the suspect is a 16-year-old male but is not able to release his name due to it being a juvenile.

Ja’Nya’s family is trying to find comfort in her passing by looking at pictures, videos and reliving memories.

“That smile, that dancing. I want people to remember her and, you know, with her in the middle of the street performing as well as, you know, she was on TV. I’m going to miss my baby,” Mouton said.

According to Mouton, her daughter’s greatest accomplishment was becoming a dancing doll at Tip Tap Toe School of Dance. While there, she was featured along with the school on Lifetime's hit series Bring It.

Justine Sampy, the director of Tip Tap Toe School of Dance, said that Ja’Nya has been her student since she was six years old. Over the years, she watched her grow as a dancer.

“She danced with Tamela Mann and Marvin Sapp. She also danced with Yolanda Adams in concert,” Sampy said.

According to Sampy, Ja’Nya became a role model for the younger dancers at her school when she became a member of their most elite team, the dancing dolls.

“That's the creme de la creme everybody wants to be a doll. Everybody looks up to dolls everybody wants to be a doll, the little girls are looking they're watching,” Sampy said.

Ja’Nya was brought to the school by her uncle. He was the person who first introduced her to dance.

“I was her praise dance teacher and our majorette teacher. She did ballet, liturgical, gymnastics. She did it all, she mastered it all,” Tevin Jones, the uncle of Ja’Nya, said.

Jones would like his niece to be remembered as the life of the party.

“She was one of them people that if she walked into a room or she come in an area, she lights it up. So, she should be remembered for her heart, her love, and her determination to be the best she could be,” Jones said.

The 16-year-old's loved ones are confused on why teen gun violence is an ongoing issue in the community.

“I would just like to know why, how to do these 16-year-old kids are able to get these guns?” Sampy said.

Her Uncle also has a message for those behind the guns.

“This is not the life you want, y'all deserve better. She wanted better. Now, everything that she wanted for a future she'll never get,” Jones said.

Ja’Nya was on the dance team at Northside High School. Her dream was to attend Grambling State University and join the Orchesis Dance Company.

Her family will be having a balloon release this Friday at 7:00 pm at 116 E. Clinton St. in Lafayette.

Ja’Nya’s services will be held on Saturday, July 24th at Philadelphia Church on W. Willow St. The public viewing will be from 11:00 am-1:00 pm with the funeral immediately after. The burial will be held at Calvary Cemetery. Guest are asked to wear pink, purple, and white.

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