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Connecticut Town Mourns Girl Killed Before Prom

BY NBC CONNECTICUT

The Milford community continues to come to grips with the tragedy at Jonathan Law High School.

Sixteen-year-old Maren Sanchez, a junior, was stabbed to death Friday morning in the school by a classmate. It was the day of the prom, and Sanchez was crowned prom queen hours after she died.

Classes are canceled Monday, according to parents who said they were notified via phone and email, and the school newspaper, which tweeted updates.

A vigil is planned for Monday evening at the football field, and both the softball and tennis home games will reportedly pay a tribute to Sanchez.

Students mourning the loss of Sanchez returned to the high school on Saturday for comfort and counseling.

"We're all very much connected, so this hurts. It hurts," said Jonathan Law High School parent Lucy Ferrara.

As night fell Saturday, the memorial outside the school continued to grow. Grieving friends and community members left flowers, balloons, candles and mememtos for Sanchez.

Mourners held each other close with some breaking down after seeing the memorial. All of them are trying to find some way to come to terms with such a loss.

Friends of Maren Sanchez hold up the dress she would have worn at prom.
Friends of Maren Sanchez hold up the dress she would have worn at prom. Izzy Cortez

"Today is kind of hitting me because yesterday it was, you knew it happened, but you didn't know what to think about it because it's not something that happens every day and not something that you're ready for," said Kassandra Sebas, a friend of Sanchez's.

The suspect has not been identified due to his age. According to his attorney, Rich Meehan, the suspect is currently under psychiatric evaluation and a 15-day emergency commitment at a medical facility.

"We intend to waive the detention hearing and I expect that the matter will probably be continued until the emergency commitment expires," Meehan said Saturday, regarding the arraignment.

Meehan said the suspect will be charged as an adult.

A spokesperson for the suspect's family told NBC Connecticut their thoughts are with the victim and her family and that they'll release a statement after the arraignment on Monday.

Close family friends said the 16-year-old suspect is a good kid from a great family.

"I was pretty good friends with the kid," said a sophomore at the school. "He was on the football team. We talked a lot, and it's kind of shocking knowing one of your good friends did something bad like that."

Some students say the attack took place because Sanchez would not go to prom with the suspect. Police are not revealing a motive at this time and say the investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, a community continues to grieve for Maren Sanchez.

"It's a hard time. It's a hard time, but we're just going to stand strong and get through it," said Ferrara.