Grief-stricken mother fights for answers in teen daughter’s unsolved murder


INDIANAPOLIS — Nikki Cope will not stop pushing for answers in the murder case of her 16-year-old daughter, Nya Mae Cope, who was killed by a stray bullet in early May.

It happened on May 3 near 38th and Arlington Avenue as they were driving home.

“Trying to pull her out of a car, trying to give CPR to her even though I’m pretty sure she was already gone,” Nikki remembered of the night Nya was killed. “All I could do, I couldn’t even give her breaths because there was blood in her mouth, I had to turn her head over and start pumping her heart.”

Nikki and Nya, along with Nya’s best friend Jayla, came to Indy from Marion to visit a friend and grab a meal at a restaurant Nya loved. Tragically, they found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I did everything I could to help keep her alive,” Nikki said with tears in her eyes.

IMPD confirmed they do not have any leads in this case.

“I hope every place you go, every move you make, every time your phone rings, every time a knock comes at the door that you are worried,” Nikki cried. “I hope that you can’t sleep at night like I can’t sleep, like my family can’t sleep.”

Nikki and several of Nya’s loved ones are organizing an awareness effort for the teen’s case this Saturday around 12:30 p.m. near the area she was killed. They plan to sell t-shirts and bracelets, make a new memorial and posting signs around the area with information about the reward money and the case.

As of May 25, 81 people have been killed in Indianapolis this year. That is up significantly from 54 people killed during that same time frame last year. The Marion County Coroner’s Office provided these numbers.

Both Nya and Rodgerick Payne Jr. are included in this group this year. Payne Jr is the 8-year-old boy fatally wounded by a stray bullet that entered his home on March 31.

“I don’t know what it is,” Bailey said. “Life is not a video game. Guns are not toys. When you pull the trigger, it’s forever. You cannot take it back and that bullet will go somewhere.”

On Tuesday, a 10-month-old boy was struck in the knee by a stray bullet that entered his home. Thankfully, he will be okay.

“Twenty-plus shots fired where this 10-month-old was hit,” Bailey exclaimed. “Twenty-plus of people in a parking lot in an open area, just randomly shooting, with no regard to where these bullets are going to go. That’s how we lost these two previous children.”

IMPD is confident they will make an arrest in the baby’s case soon. They are desperate to make a similar announcement for Nya and Rodgerick’s cases soon too.

“No lead information to put us in the direction of a suspect here,” Bailey admitted. “So, we’re going to have to wait for some forensic or ballistic evidence to come through, or we’re going to have to have somebody step forward.”

Latest News

More News