Dunbar grad who went missing in Israel found dead Monday

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TeNiya Jones, 19.

A college student and graduate of Dunbar High School who went missing while studying abroad was found dead, according to her family.

TeNiya Jones, 19, was a University of Kentucky student studying abroad in Amam, Jordan, according to Jones’ mother Tosha Thomas-Mora. Jones was visiting Tel Aviv, Israel with several students in her program.

Bill Bull, vice president of the university’s health and safety security notified Thomas-Mora around 11 p.m. Saturday that three students went for a swim in the sea, and Jones had been missing for approximately 2.5 hours, Thomas-Mora said in an email.

Her mother found out her daughter was missing through a phone message.

“Throughout the time she was there, I was getting all kind of pictures from her … texting how much fun she’s having,” Thomas-Mora said.

For Thomas-Mora, after hearing the news of her daughter’s dissapearance, “everything just unraveled.”

“Supposedly they went out for a midnight swim two roommates returned and said that a strong current came and swept them away but they swam back to shore and when they returned TeNiya was nowhere to be found,” Thomas-Mora said in an email.

The 19-year-old University of Kentucky freshman was on a weekend getaway in Tel Aviv, Israel. Jones and two of her other friends were at the beach right before the unthinkable happened.

“He remembered her yelling, screaming and he thought that she had swam behind them but I guess when they got to shore they realized that TeNiya wasn’t there so they went to get help,” Thomas-Mora said.

Jones’ body was found about 24 hours later, and the news was hard for the family and those who knew her.

“It was so heartbreaking, and my mom called me cause my mom said, ‘It’s true honey, because I was still like no,” said track coach Madder Smith.

It’s the second recent tragedy for Jones’ mother. Her other child, Sam Jones was killed about seven months ago.

“Any mother that lose a child would understand how hard it was but to lose my second child, it’s so hard,” Thomas-Mora said. “I try not to question God.”

Israel officials told the family they didn’t notice any foul play.

Right now the U.S. Embassy is working on returning Jones’ body back to Fort Myers.

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The family also started a GoFundMe they say is a scholarship fund in TeNiya’s name.

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