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CLEVELAND, OH -
The death of 16-year old Cleveland girl found shot right outside her west side home has been ruled a homicide.
The Cuyahoga Medical Examiner released his report Friday afternoon stating Jennifer Zacarias died of gunshot wounds of head, neck and upper extremity.
The shooting happened around 12:15 a.m. Friday morning on West 102nd Street and Thrush Avenue.
"I mean she's the nicest person you could ever meet. Nobody understands how or why this happened to her," said Gabriela Zacarias.
Gabriela Zacarias says her cousin Jennifer went outside her home in the middle of the night and moments later...
"That's when they heard the gunshots. My uncle came outside looking for her in the front, didn't see her. Went to the backyard and that's when he saw her laying down on the floor," said Gabriela.
The preliminary investigation confirms Gabriela's story. Cops say Jennifer's father heard multiple gunshots outside. After hearing the gunshots, he checked for her and found that she was not in her room. The father went outside to look for Jennifer, and found her in the backyard with multiple gunshot wounds.
EMS rushed Jennifer to MetroHealth Medical Center, where she died.
Jennifer's family tells 19 Action News detectives told them the 16-year old boy in custody was Jennifer's boyfriend and that another person could be involved in this case. We've also learned that investigators found Jennifer's cell phone.
Jennifer's family says they had no idea Jennifer had a boyfriend until her friends mentioned it. Her friends also say her on again off again boyfriend was verbally abusive.
19 Action News reporter Tiffani Tucker talked to Johanna Orozco by phone. She survived a gunshot to the face 6-years ago at the hands of her abusive ex-boyfriend. Orozco's family knows Jennifer's relatives.
"It really hit home for me. That I went through the situation and I'm here and she's not and it's very unfortunate. It was heartbreaking for me it brought up a lot of memories," said Johanna.