‘She touched many hearts:’ Downtown vigil honors Youngstown murder victim

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The life of 28-year-old Anvia Mickens — found murdered last week in the trunk of a car in Niagara Falls — was celebrated Monday evening when 150 people showed up on Central Square in downtown Youngstown for a vigil in her honor.

For the past year, Mickens, of Youngstown, was a beautician at The Starting Line Barber and Beauty Shop downtown.

“It hurt,” said Jerome Franklin, owner of The Starting Line. “You know, because such a beautiful person getting taken away like that.”

“Everyone loved her,” co-worker Jaunita Pete said. “She touched many hearts. If you’d just meet her in the store, then you would have a friend forever.”

A testament of how many lives Mickens touched was evident by Monday’s gathering — at times in prayer — outside The Starting Line.

“You know somebody was laughing when you heard Anvia laugh,” Starting Line barber Robert Hale said. “And that brought life to the barber shop.”

“To honor Anvia like this is incredible,” family friend Leigh Green said. “She would be so blown away.”

Among those who showed up was Mickens’ father Darryl Mickens. He gathered his family together around him and read from 1 Thessalonians about wanting to know the truth about those who have died.

“We just want to thank you,” Darryl Mickens said. “I mean the love, the outpouring has been beyond expectations.”

The evening ended with balloons being passed out and the emotional moment when all of them were released into the wind.

“It’s evident with all the people that’s here, she loved everybody and everybody loved her,” Franklin said.

Arrested in connection to Mickens’ murder was her boyfriend, 27-year-old JeShawn Elliot. He remains jailed in Niagara Falls but so far, has not been charged with her murder.