Family members watch over 11-year-old girl who took her own life


CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (WBTV) – Dozens of people gathered near St. Paul’s Baptist Missionary Church on Wednesday evening to honor the life of 11-year-old Zy’onna Phifer. Phifer, a sixth grader at Renaissance West STEAM Academy in Charlotte, took her own life earlier this month.

Phifer’s father Juan Mason spoke to WBTV ahead of the vigil.

“Zy’onna was a bright, cheerful person, always full of love. She was a helpful girl who loved to pour out her energy because that’s how we taught her,” Mason explained.

The grieving father said his daughter’s death was unbearable for him. He said he and his family were still working to find out why Zy’onna chose to kill herself.

“A lot of the pressure that was on her in school, a lot of things that was on her in school like bullying and all that, so we’re always trying to get to the bottom of it. A lot of things are still going on there. ‘under investigation,’ Mason explained.

Wednesday’s vigil wasn’t as much about Zy’onna’s death as it was about her life. The little girl’s name was spelled out in large, illuminated capital letters and a floral “Z” served as the centerpiece for the gathering. Relatives at the vigil took turns sharing stories about the 11-year-old who loved to dance and throw parties for her family.

“He was an outgoing person. She was very loving, very caring, the life of the party. She was very exciting to be around – positive energy, ”said Shavel Waldon-Belk, one of Zy’onna’s cousins.

The next few days will be spent celebrating Zy’onna’s life. His funeral will take place on Friday. A motorcycle ride in his honor is scheduled for Saturday. Mason said he plans to continue talking about his daughter and will share a message for other parents.

“Do your best to pay attention to all kinds of signs, because we didn’t have any. We never knew she was planning to do it, ”Mason said. “I don’t want anyone to think that she was troubled at home or troubled by her parents or nothing. My child was loved and will always be loved and missed.

Zy’onna Phifer’s funeral will be at 1 p.m. on Friday at St. Paul’s Baptist Missionary Church in Charlotte.

A Bikers Against Violence hike for Zyonna is scheduled for Saturday. It is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at the Roses on 4525 Plaza Road in Charlotte.

If you need help or want to talk to someone about mental health support, you can call 800-273-TALK, send SHARE by SMS to 741741 and visit @CrisisTextLine on Twitter.

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