Mother of Murdered Vancleave Teen Speaks

A Vancleave mother says her life will never be the same after the murder of her teenage son. He was found dead last week in the back woods of his grandmother’s house. News 25’s Gina Tomlinson spoke with the mother who says her life, but also her family, is changed forever.

Since her son’s death last week, Jenny Smith says her life has been a nightmare she can’t wake up from. Sixteen-year-old Cliff Allyn goes missing. The next day, the teen is found dead. His cousin, 19-year-old Dexter Mandoza Kelley, now charged with capital murder.

Cliff Allyn’s body was found in the woods behind his grandmother’s home where, according to Smith, her nephew had recently begun living. “You just don’t imagine something like this happening. Cliff felt safe with his cousin playing basketball outside,” said Smith.

Cliff’s safety became questionable to his mother when she arrived at Cliff’s grandmother’s house and thought the only person around, Dexter, looked suspicious. “I went up to him and I said ‘you seen my son last, where is he? You know where he’s at.’”

Monday was the first time Smith saw her son’s face since before his death. “He had a black eye. His nose was broken. He had bruises all over his face and some of it was discoloration but he beat my son probably from behind and front.”

Kelley is being held at the Jackson County Jail, scheduled to appear in court Tuesday. Now, a grieving mother tells News 25 she will do whatever it takes to see her nephew get what he deserves. “My nephew is no longer in my family. He killed my pride and joy, my everything. Me and Cliff did everything together. I can’t even walk in Walmart without thinking of him. Everything I do, we did together.”

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