Funeral for missing teen’s mom set for Sunday

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The funeral for the adoptive mother of Yasmin Acree, the 15-year-old Austin teen who’s been missing since 2008, will be held Sunday.

Services for Rose Starnes will take place at Greater St. John Bible Church, where Starnes attended for well over 15 years. Greater St. John is pastored by her first cousin, Ira Acree.

Starnes, 57, died Feb. 24 after a long illness.

Her health began to fail miserably in the years following Yasmin’s disappearance. A diabetic, Starnes also suffered from kidney failure and high blood pressure.

“The truth of the matter is, Rose was in pretty good health up until Yasmin’s went missing,” Ira Acree said in a statement. “The questions, the uncertainty and perhaps even personal guilt took a toll on her. I’m convinced my cousin died from a broken heart.”

The scheduling of Sunday’s service was delayed because Starnes had no insurance and Ira Acree was out of the country.

“My mom and Pastor Acree were very close,” Shakelia Johnson, 36, said in a statement. “It would definitely be her wishes that he perform the service. She would have it no other way.”

Family and community activists vow to continue Starnes’ quest to getting truth and justice for Yasmin. A vigil has been held every January, on or around the day the Austin Polytechnical Academy freshman disappeared.

A $10,000 reward for helping find her is being offered.

The Internal Affairs Division of the Chicago Police Department sustained charges of police misconduct in handling Yasmin’s disappearance, which was initially investigated as runaway case.

The Chicago Tribune reported in January 2011 that police missed critical clues, and reporters interviewed a man being held on rape charges who admitted to knowing what happened to Yasmin.

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