Richmond says goodbye to Keeshae Jacobs after years of hoping they wouldn't have to

Posted at 5:46 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 17:46:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- With songs of praise, words from the Gospel, and messages of support a community said goodbye to a Richmond woman Friday after years of hoping they would not have to.

"Closure has now come, but it comes in a way that looks antithetical. It looks different," said Rev. Stephen Artis.

Artis delivered the eulogy at the celebration of life held for Keeshae Jacobs, who was last seen in September 2016 in Church Hill. However, earlier this month, Richmond Police said they received information that allowed them to determine she was no longer alive.

Earlier this week, Keeshae's mother, Toni, said the news left her heart "broken and heavy."

The service for Keeshae was held at Cedar Street Baptist Church in Richmond, where she was a member. Keeshae's obituary in the program said she "entered eternal rest on May 2, 2024."

"I'm sure that she was able to leave an impressionable heart within your life. She made you smile, she made you laugh, she made you do things that you probably never thought that you could do before," said Artis.

Among those who gave remarks at the service was Det. Clarence Key with the Richmond Police Department, who was assigned to Keeshae's case.

He told the congregation of the day he called Toni to tell her and said he called her later that night to check on her.

"She said 'Where do we go from here?'," said Key, who added he told her the answer was clear -- that God had her and she was to use her experience to help others. "Every mother, every father, every child that is going through what you've gone through -- you're going to be that guiding light. You're going to be that beacon of hope."

Along with a memorial for Keeshae, the service featured many words of support for her family -- especially her mother -- hailing the work she did to keep Keeshae's story alive and bring her home.

"So, we celebrate you lady. For every flyer that you posted. For every newspaper article that you spoke to," Artis said during the eulogy.

And with nearly eight years not knowing now behind them, the pastor told those gathered they can now focus on seeking that closure and to look to Keeshae's mother and the Almighty for how.

"We celebrate and we remember her life because she lives inside of you. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever, amen."

As for what exact information detectives said they got to allow Friday's service to happen, police said they hold a news conference to go into more details in the future.

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