Family of Phenix City teen speaks out on her death

Authorities: 2nd cousin named suspect in death of missing 19-year-old girl

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - We are learning more about an east Alabama teen found dead this weekend and the cousin accused of killing her.

News Leader 9's Roslyn Giles spoke with family members of 19-year-old Keonte Chavis, who went missing and was later found dead over the weekend.

The situation is like living a nightmare that they just can't wake up from, said Gail Grissom, Keonte's grandmother. "She called me every day, and sometimes just to say, 'Love you, bye' or text me, 'LOL (lots of love)."

With tears rolling down Gail Grissom's face, the family is dealing with some unusual circumstances surrounding her death.

During the press conference, Sheriff Taylor informed members of the media that the last person Keonte was last seen with is now facing murder charges in connection with her death.

"I didn't imagine a family member maybe harming her like that," stated Nikisha Grissom who last spoke to her daughter on Wednesday over the phone, as she talked about preparing for a job interview at Sam's Club in Columbus on Thursday morning. She never made it.

Nikisha is coping with the loss of her only child in a tragic death that no one saw coming after the 2012 Central High School graduate rode with her cousin to pay a ticket after her car had broken down.

It's the same cousin Keonte grew up with in New York.  Christopher Grissom, 29, also known as "Lil Chris" is suspected of strangling her to death, according to Taylor.

Keonte's body was found on Ridge Road in the Lato community of Seale, Alabama on Saturday evening around 6…3 days after she went missing.

"I said Lil Chris, what time did you drop Keonte off?  He said, '1:30', and the young man that lived there when he said, 1:30, that boy said, 'no you didn't'...and I believed him."

The location where Lil Chris reportedly said he dropped Keonte off was at a friend's house on 6th street in south Phenix City, but by the time Keonte's body was discovered-- Lil Chris had left town for New York where his mother lives.

Russell County detective are hoping "Lil Chris" will waive extradition as they travel to pick him up.

Lil Chris stopped by his grandmother's house in Russell County where Keonte stayed. He was on his way from Jacksonville, Florida to New York. Sheriff Taylor said Chris was recently involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend in Jacksonville and didn't show up for court.

Family members say Keonte moved to Russell County when she was 10 years old. She was planning to join the military. No word yet on a motive in the case.

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.