It’s been nearly six years since Randisha Love’s bright life was cut short.
“Randisha was an outgoing young lady. She loved to dance, sing,” her mother, Katara Hamm, told Dateline. “She just loved to be around people, in general. She loved to smile. She loved school.”
The 17-year-old was a junior at Westlake High School in Fulton County, Georgia. January 12, 2016 was a typical Tuesday. Randisha headed to school that morning and texted Katara from the bus.
“It was a day like normal. She texted me: ‘Mom, I’m on the bus.’ And I texted her: ‘Have a great day, I love you.’ And, you know, she said: ‘I love you, too,’” Katara said.
Katara told Dateline that she didn’t typically text Randisha throughout the school day, but that after school, Randisha would call around 4:30 to say she arrived home safe. “She called me, cause I always like to hear her voice to make sure she’s in the house and OK,” Katara said. “We said ‘I love you’ and that was it. It wasn’t a long phone call, because I think I was kind of busy at work. It was just the normal phone call that we had every day. And I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever hear her voice.”
That normal day would turn out to be anything but.
Katara and her three younger children had recently moved into the College Park neighborhood with Katara’s parents, after her eldest son went off to college. On January 12, 2016, Katara’s parents and one of her younger sons were in California for a funeral, while the other son was at basketball practice. That meant Randisha was home alone that afternoon.
“We had just moved there with my parents,” Katara told Dateline. “So I didn’t know any of the neighbors or anything like that.” After work, Katara said she picked her son up from basketball practice and stopped to pick up some dinner. She got an uneasy feeling on her way home.
“As I was on my way home, Randisha wasn’t picking up her phone,” Katara recalled. “I know she’s always listening to music on her phone, but when her phone was going to voicemail, it really started to scare me. But I didn’t say anything, I just went home, as usual.”
Katara said she and her son got home at about 9 p.m., and as she gathered her purse and belongings from the car, her son went into the house through the unlocked door.
When Katara caught up to him, she said, “He was standing there with this crazy look on his face, like he was in a daze or something.”
Katara told Dateline she began calling for Randisha. She said her son looked at her, and looked down, and said, “Mama, she’s right there.”
Randisha was laying on the floor, in a pool of blood.
According to a 2018 interview with NBC affiliate WXIA, Fulton County Lieutenant Roger Peace said, “We learned she sustained and died from multiple gunshot wounds.”
Katara told Dateline that it was the worst day of her life. “My mind knew she was gone, but my heart – I’m sorry,” Katara said, as she started to cry. “But my heart couldn’t take it. I’m calling her name and calling her name and she’s not moving. It was the worst thing in my life. The absolute worst.”
Fearful someone may be in the house, Katara and her son left and called the police. Katara said that it was dark and there was no one around the neighborhood, so they ran to a nearby church. By the time they got back to the house, the police were there.
According to WXIA, the medical examiner’s autopsy report showed that at least three medium-caliber, yellow-metal bullets were recovered from Randisha’s body.
Dateline spoke to the Fulton County Police Department last week seeking comment on Randisha’s case, but has not yet received a follow-up response.
In the article published by WXIA in 2019, they reported that nothing was stolen from the home and Randisha had not been sexually assaulted.
Lieutenant Peace also told former WXIA reporter Jessica Noll that “it's still unknown of what the motive may have been or what transpired. Either she opened the door for somebody she knew from school or the neighborhood, or it was somebody who gained entrance to the house. Either she didn't lock the front door, or she opened the door and let them in, or she opened the door and they forced entry."
Since Randisha was new to the neighborhood and the school, Katara didn’t think she knew very many people in the area. “I’m sure she had met some of the younger kids in that neighborhood that were going to the school,” Katara told Dateline. “But I personally didn’t know anyone in that neighborhood.”
There were no ear or eye-witnesses, and as Lt. Peace told WXIA, investigators believe that Randisha was murdered while most of the neighbors were still at work.
Katara said that it was very unlike her daughter to have left the door unlocked. “She was always the responsible one. Because I used to work crazy hours and Randisha would be the one to cook -- even though she wasn’t the oldest -- she would make sure everyone was OK. So she was the responsible one.”
Katara mentioned that Randisha would never have opened the door for a complete stranger and that she still has no clue who could have harmed her daughter. “I just personally think it was somebody that she knows. But I have no idea, because Randisha wasn’t a girl in the streets. She wasn’t a bad girl. She was a straight-A student, on the principal's list,” Katara said. “My child was a good child. I honestly have no idea who did this and why.”
After Randisha’s murder, Katara worked to get an honorary diploma for her daughter. “She went to Westlake High School – who I fought with and fought with to get her a diploma. And the only thing I could get was a certificate of attendance. And I really wanted -- Randisha worked so hard from kindergarten up, and because she didn’t finish her junior year, she wasn’t allowed to get her diploma.”
But as the years go by, Katara has continued to advocate for her daughter in the pursuit of justice.
“I don’t call every day, because it’s hard to call every day and ask for an update on my daughter’s murder case. Those are just hard words to say,” Katara told Dateline. “But I do keep in touch, and I do make sure that her case is not just swept under the rug. I do make sure her case is still being worked on because I want justice for my daughter.”
Katara has a message to the public: “To whomever killed her -- just to know that they broke my heart. They took my soul. They took my soul away. They just broke me as a person, as a mother, as a child, as a sister. Like, I’m no longer the same as I was January 12, 2016,” Katara said. “It has literally broke me down. I’m stronger than I was six years ago, but I have a long, long way to go.”
“Just for anybody who knows something, just please, please, please say something. Just speak up, because Randisha deserves justice and she did not deserve what happened to her,” Katara pleaded. “I know that there are people out there that know and if they could just please come forward. You can remain anonymous. I know people may be scared, but they do have ways that you can remain anonymous and no one will ever know that you told.”
Katara told Dateline that she misses Randisha dearly and thinks of her every second of the day. “It’s still hard for me to talk about her in the past sense,” Katara said. “A piece of me is missing and I can’t get it back. Cause she’s gone and she’s not coming back.”
Anyone with information about Randisha’s case is asked to call the Fulton County Police Department at (404) 613-6529.