Olivia Mackay loved traveling, plays, anime, Asian cultures, and cherry pie.
Tragically, the 17-year-old incoming high school senior from Kenosha County, Wisconsin’s future was cut short when she was found murdered in a rural area.
Two teenage suspects, Jamari Cook and Daniel Tate, are now accused in connection with Mackay’s death, although charges have not yet been filed.
Olivia would have been a senior at Indian Trail Academy High School in Kenosha in the fall.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mackay Was Reported Missing When She Didn’t Show Up For Work at McDonald’s
On Facebook, Olivia Mackay wrote that she was a crew member for the Kenosha, Wisconsin McDonald’s. Kenosha is a community of just under 100,000 people located in southeastern Wisconsin.
Olivia was last seen around 11 p.m. on July 23, and her family reported her missing when she didn’t show up for her job the next day. The hard-working teen had jobs at both McDonald’s and Taco Bell, according to her obituary.
Tragically, Olivia’s body was found on July 24 in a wooded area in a nearby county. Police say that Olivia was murdered, and prosecutors said in a court hearing for one of the two suspects on August 4 that she was strangled on a beach.
2. Olivia Was Shy but Adventurous, With a Great Interest in Asian Cultures & Anime
Olivia had a strong interest in studying abroad, traveling, and Asian cultures. Her Facebook profile is written in part in Chinese.
“She loved to read manga and was an enthusiastic fan of anime and K-Pop. Olivia taught herself to speak and write basic Chinese while sharpening her skills in advanced Chinese language classes at her high school,” her obituary reads. “In 2016, Olivia visited China and was planning a return trip as soon as she was able to afford it. Olivia could also speak Spanish quite well.”
At the age of 10, Olivia announced “that she was planning to move out and travel the world,” the obituary read, calling her “a shy person with no particular desire to fit in.”
3. Olivia Loved Cherry Pay, Plays, & YouTube
The teen was remembered as an independent spirit who was incredibly creative in multiple ways. She was smart and often on the school honor roll.
“She was unafraid to be the person she wanted to be, and those who were close to her knew her to be a very funny person who loved to plan small gatherings and activities for her friends,” her obituary said.
Olivia’s father posted a photo of an unfinished piece of Olivia’s artwork, calling her modest and talented.
“She loved to dance, and enjoyed playing the ocarina. As Olivia grew into a young adult, her curiosity, strong work ethic and independent spirit often landed her on the honor roll and led her to develop many interests. She was a particularly inventive and talented visual artist who was comfortable working in a wide variety of mediums. She was very interested in video production and would write detailed scripts for videos that she would post online to YouTube.”
Growing up, Olivia expressed a love for cherry pie and acting.
“In middle school, she worked her way into several school plays and enjoyed attending theater productions in Chicago,”the obit says.
4. The Community Has Rallied Around Olivia’s Family With Vigils & a Fundraising Site
Numerous vigils have been held in Mackay’s honor in Kenosha. A YouCaring fundraising site has also been established in the teenager’s memory to help her family. It’s raised more than $23,000.
The site reads, “Our friend Kelly Mackay and his family suffered an enormous loss on July 24, 2017. His daughter, Olivia Mackay, was a shy, talented and insightful teenager who was preparing to begin her senior year at Indian Trail Academy High School this fall. This account has been created to help the Mackay family absorb the expense of Olivia’s funeral service due to her sudden passing. These are extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated, and any donations exceeding the cost of the funeral will go into a scholarship fund in Olivia’s honor.”
Kelly Mackay posted a video of Olivia on Facebook and wrote, in part, “You sweet, beautiful, kind, generous loving souls. Each and everyone of you. Love beyond and further beyond any words of thanks could express. You are the voice of truth and justice. Please keep praying for us.”
5. The Two Suspects Are Local Wisconsin Teens
Police weren’t saying much about what led them to the two suspects, Jamari Cook and Daniel Tate. They did say they had taken the teens into custody on August 3 in connection with Mackay’s death. Whether criminal charges are filed is a matter that will be determined by the Kenosha County District Attorney.
According to The Kenosha News, prosecutors allege that “Cook told police he was there when Tate strangled Mackay on a Kenosha beach” and allegedly “told police he helped Tate place Mackay’s body in her car, which Tate then proceeded ‘to drive around as if it was his own.'”
For his part, prosecutors alleged Tate changed his story during questioning, saying he’d “hadn’t been in contact with Mackay” and then saying he had but alleging another man strangled her; however, police said in court that that man had a “solid alibi,” the newspaper reported. Prosecutors labeled Tate the prime suspect in the death, the newspaper added.
Cook is 17-years-old and Tate is 19-years-old and both are from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Tate had an open warrant for bail jumping that was issued in June, according to Wisconsin court records. He was in court on August 4 in that case and a previous domestic battery charge.