Mom of Student Who Died After Uber Ride Speaks Out, Says She 'Will Not Rest' Until She Has Answers

"I'm not going to stop until I figure out what happened to my daughter," mom Miranda Ferrand said on Thursday, nearly two weeks after Ciaya Whetstone's death

Ciaya Whetstone and her mom Miranda Ferrand
Ciaya Whetstone and her mom, Miranda Ferrand. Photo: Courtesy Family

It's been almost two weeks since New Orleans student Ciaya Whetstone's death, and her family is still looking for answers.

The 21-year-old University of New Orleans student was pronounced dead at New Orleans East Hospital on the morning of Feb. 19 after taking an Uber ride following a night celebrating Mardi Gras, according to ABC affiliate WGNO.

Authorities, who are still investigating the student's "unclassified death," have yet to release the name of the driver, announce any suspects or reveal a cause of death.

Whetstone's mother, Miranda Ferrand, addressed the media at a press conference on Thursday, making a public plea for anyone who "knows anything about this situation" to "please find it in their hearts to be honest and come forward."

"She's my best friend," Ferrand said through tears of her daughter. "I brought her here to graduate, not to come pack her up to bury her."

"Every morning I wake up and she's not here, I'm going to be here and I'm not going to stop until I figure out what happened to my daughter," she continued. "I will not rest. She's my life and I owe her that."

Ciaya Whetstone
Ciaya Whetstone. Courtesy Family

As of the time of the press conference, an attorney representing Whetstone's family said the student's parents had "not gotten a single call or update from anybody — not the hospital, not the police, not Uber."

"We're not asking for answers anymore, we're demanding them," he remarked.

Ciaya Whetstone and her dog Zoe
Ciaya Whetstone. Courtesy Family

South Carolina State Representative Justin Bamberg, who is part of the legal team representing the family, went on to share that Ciaya's mom only learned of the situation after she called her daughter's cell phone and a nurse at the hospital picked up.

"She then has to find out when a phone gets handed to a doctor: 'Ma'am things are not good with your daughter…you need to come to New Orleans,' " the attorney shared.

Furthermore, Bamberg said the family has "had to hear extra details" — including details from a police report about Ciaya's condition when she was dropped off at the hospital — by reading about it online.

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"Our goal is to get this family the answers they deserve and have been patiently waiting for," Bamberg tells PEOPLE in a statement on Friday.

"It's been nearly two weeks and this family hasn't been given any information regarding Ciaya's cause of death," the attorney added. "We will continue to push for answers in an attempt to provide peace and comfort to Ciaya's family."

In addition to looking for answers, Bamberg spoke about the need for policy changes regarding ridesharing apps like Uber.

"Why are there not camera systems in Ubers in 2022?" Bamberg said during the press conference. "If there was a camera system in that car mandated by Uber, we would know what conversations took place."

According to Uber's data, the trip Whetstone took on Feb. 19 ended without incident.

"No parent should have to suffer the loss of a child, and our thoughts continue to be with Ciaya's family. We understand the frustration of not having answers," a spokesperson tells PEOPLE in a statement. "We are seeking answers too, which is why we proactively reached out to law enforcement to offer assistance in their investigation as soon as we were made aware of Ciaya's tragic death."

"We remain ready and willing to assist law enforcement in any way we can in their ongoing investigation," the spokesperson adds. "We have policies in place prohibiting post-trip contact and have removed the driver's access to the app."

Uber says they have released information about the driver, vehicle information and GPS data to law enforcement, per their request.

A spokesperson for New Orleans East Hospital also told WGNO in a statement that they had turned over "all requested information" to authorities.

ciaya jordan
Ciaya Jordan Whetstone. ciayajordan/Instagram

Citing the NOPD, WGNO previously reported that when authorities tried to talk to the driver who allegedly dropped Whetstone off at the hospital, he was not reportedly not home.

The NOPD, which confirmed to PEOPLE on Friday that the investigation is still open and active, told the outlet that they planned on speaking to Whetstone's family on Thursday. The family's legal team confirms to PEOPLE that a meeting with the police took place on Thursday, although additional details were not provided.

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