ST. LOUIS — Her name was Carieal Doss, but she went by “L”. She was 18 years old. And she was a senior at Parkway West High School.
Those are the details that eluded police investigators since Tuesday.
They knew her height, weight and hair style. But they didn't know her age. They had the body of a young girl fatally shot and found on a City of St. Louis sidewalk. But they didn't know her name. After two days, police put out a call for help Thursday, along with photos of the clothes she was wearing when she was killed.
On Friday, police were able to identify the young victim.
Later in the afternoon, her school community learned of her sudden passing.
“It is with deep sorry that I share some tragic news regarding one of our students,” Parkway West High School Principal Jeremy Mitchell wrote in an email to parents. “We learned early this morning that Carieal Doss, known more commonly as “L”, passed away unexpectedly.”
Photos: Carieal Doss, 18, found murdered in St. Louis
Even though students aren’t at the school right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parkway West is offering help for students who need it. District counselors and social workers are available for students who need additional support.
“Our thoughts are with the Doss family as they deal with this tragic loss. Please keep them and all our students in your thoughts as well,” Mitchell continued.
The sense of shock extended to Doss' work family as well. She was an employee at McDonald's. Her shift manager said Doss was like a comedian, and they would spend their workdays joking with each other.
"She was a pleasure to be around," Sabrina Brewer said. "She always had you laughing."
The McDonald's where Doss worked told 5 On Your Side they're willing to help the family in this difficult time.
"On our behalf of McDonald's at that store, you can contact us. We are here," Brewer said. "We are ready to give you flowers."
The murder of Doss hits especially close to home for Jennings Councilwoman Aja Owens. Doss' mom is Owens' cousin, and Doss' father is a childhood friend of the councilwoman.
"Her personality was one of a kind," Owens said. "She loved to joke and laugh with friends and her family."
Doss' mom was her best friend, Owens added, saying she was a caring kid who loved her siblings.
"She was a gentle soul. She always kept a big smile on her face," Owens said. "To know her is to love her."
She said Doss was definitely loved and is terribly missed.
"She was somebody’s child, she was somebody’s friend, she was somebody’s coworker, she was loved," Owens said. "She was not a Jane Doe, she was someone who was loved."
The councilwoman also addressed the lapse in time it took for police to identify Doss. Owens said that was no fault on the family.
"There is no way they weren’t wondering about her well being and where she is at and things like that," she said, adding that for this to happen during a pandemic makes the grieving even more difficult.
She also expressed frustration with crime in the city.
"The violence in St. Louis really needs to end," Owens said.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is still early on in its investigation. At this time, they do not believe Doss was killed where her body was found Tuesday night on Franklin Avenue in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Homicide Division directly at 314-444-5371, or anyone with a tip who wants to remain anonymous and is interested in a reward can contact CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS (8477).
"As you all can imagine, during this pandemic, it makes it that much more difficult to endure this pain. If you or anyone you know would like to support with a financial donation, you may send them a CashApp blessing directly to $jaehone or PayPal to Mhearts2018@aol.com anything will be greatly appreciated." Owens said. "If you are unable to support financially, one way we can all support is through non-stop prayer."
You can read the full letter from Parkway West High School Principal Jeremy Mitchell below.
Dear Longhorn Universe,
It is with deep sorrow that I share some tragic news regarding one of our students. We learned early this morning that Carieal Doss, known more commonly as “L”, passed away unexpectedly.
I alerted the staff this morning to prepare them for the possible needs of our students. While I would usually announce this event at school, I am providing this information to everyone in case a discussion arises this evening or this weekend.
Teenagers respond to death in different ways. How children react will depend on the relationship they had with the person who died, their age, and their prior experience with death or illness. In the days ahead, some behaviors or reactions your child may experience include appearing unaffected, feeling sad or crying, feeling worried or scared, increased concern about the safety/health of others, asking repeated questions about death, feeling tired or anxious, having difficulty sleeping or eating, or wanting to be near caregivers.
As teenagers grieve, it is helpful to:
- Be available
- Show support, listen and validate the child’s feelings
- Keep structures and routines the same, as this provides comfort and security to children
If you feel your child is having difficulty and may benefit from additional support, please let me know. Our counseling department, along with district counselors and social workers, are available to assist any students that need additional support.
Our thoughts are with the Doss family as they deal with this tragic loss. Please keep them and all our students in your thoughts as well.