11alive.com | GONE COLD | Justice for Love: A mother’s relentless pursuit to find her daughter’s killer


The brisk Georgia winter day started like so many others with a text to her mom at 7:37 a.m.

In her mom’s phone, as “Pookie,” Love said: “Im on the bus.”

“Ok love you the have a great day,” followed by dozens of heart, crown and kissing emojis.

“Love you too.”

More colorful emojis close out their conversation.

Love taught her mom how to use emojis, she giggled. It was almost like a secret language between them–adding that extra touch of love and hugs and kisses. Hamm looked forward to getting those text messages from her teenage daughter each day.

But, now, every day that her phone remains silent, sans pings to indicate she’s received a new text message, is a day that her heart breaks a little more.

That day in 2016 that started with heart emoji-filled text messages, would end in a way that would shatter her mother’s world and baffle detectives.

Love was the second oldest of four children and her mother’s only daughter. She and her family had just moved with her grandparents in College Park—that meant a new school, new neighbors and new friends for Love and her two of her three brothers–one was already in college. She was a junior at Westlake High School.

But one staple in her life was ROTC. She could not wait to join the military, especially because she knew it would save her mom money for college.

“She was like, ‘Well, when I join the Air Force, I’m going to go because they say it will help me pay for my college as well as for my younger brother. So, mom, you won’t have to worry about what you just went through with my brother, with sending him to college.’ She said, ‘Don’t worry, I got you.’ And those words will forever stick with me because I know that all she wanted to do was help people,” Hamm said.

At 4:30 p.m., Love called her mom to let her know that she was home and in the house. They talked for a few minutes and shared a giggle or two.

“We were laughing with each other, and I’m happy it was a laughing conversation. I had bought her a burger or something to eat when she got out of school the next day, but my son ate it and she was like, ‘I’m gonna get him,’ and that’s what we were laughed about…. because he would always eat her stuff.”

The call ended with, “Love you, mommy.”

“I love you too,” Hamm remembered saying into her phone.

But, Hamm could have had no idea that that would be the last time she would ever talk to her daughter.

When Hamm got off work at 7:30 p.m., she went to pick her son up from his basketball game and stopped to get some Wendy’s for dinner.

She called Love, but with no answer.

It wasn’t too strange for her daughter not to answer, however, because she had been known to listen to her music with ear buds in and would not hear her phone ring, Hamm said.

Crime scene photo from January 2016. (Fulton County Police)

Crime scene photo from January 2016. (Fulton County Police)

Crime scene photo from January 2016. (Fulton County Police)

They pulled into the driveway around 9 p.m. It was dark and quiet. Nothing seemed out of place.

“When I got home, everything seemed OK,” Hamm remembered.

The door was shut, but unlocked, when her son went into the house ahead of her, while she got some things out of the car.

He walked right in.

“When I came into the house, I didn’t really remember her opening the door,” she said.

As Hamm stepped inside the house, she began calling out for Love.

“I’m calling her name, calling her name—and he was looking at me with this blank stare. He was like, ‘Mom, she right there.’ And I looked down, and, literally had I taken another step or two, I would’ve tripped over her,” Hamm vividly recalled.

Love was face down in a pool of blood just inside the front hallway–just steps inside the door.

“I looked down, and I see my baby,” she said through tears that quickly fill her eyes. She covers her face with one hand, then uses both to wipe her eyes before tears can fall down her cheeks. “I just see her laying down in a puddle of blood and I ran around just to see, you know, and at that point, I don’t really remember because I just lost it.”

The teen, who was wearing a jean jacket over her gray sweatshirt, with gym shorts and whimsical gray-striped and polka-dotted socks, was lifeless. Her ball earrings and gold watch were still on her body, as was a pack of gum.

“My son and I ran out of the house because we didn’t’ know if anybody was still in there, or we just didn’t know what… it was… it was just like, it was a bad nightmare,” Hamm said, who then called 911.

“Ma’am, she was laying on the floor and I saw blood and I ran out,” Hamm said to the 911 dispatch operator.

“Was she breathing?” the dispatcher asked.

“Ma’am, no,” Hamm answered.

The now-crime scene began growing crowded as the ambulance and police arrived. The flashing red and blue lights reflected off the tops of the tall pine trees behind the house.

Fulton County Police Report

“The hardest thing for me, that night, was when I saw that ambulance go in and come back out with an empty…” she said crying, wiping her eyes. “…with an empty stretcher, because I knew at that point that she was gone.”

And Hamm doesn’t have the solace of knowing what happened to her.

“I don’t know who. I don’t know why. I just don’t know. Because Randisha was a lovable, lovable person—smart; she was nice to everybody who she met.”

“For whoever to take her life–especially in the manner of what they did–it was just cruel. It was just so cruel,” she said with tears streaming down her face. “It was just so cruel.”

“Every day, I cry, every day. Some days, more than others.”

It’s been an unimaginable, gut-wrenching two years for the mother of four. And not a single day passes without shedding tears, thinking of how she found her daughter that night.

“When I lay down and close my eyes, that’s the sight that I see, literally every night. That’s the sight I see. I have to kind of shake myself. And some nights I don’t sleep, because I don’t want to close my eyes and see that sight,” Hamm said.

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