Friends and family of two teenage girls in a same-sex relationship who were shot in the head in a South Texas park expressed shock and grief Tuesday over the incident in which one of the young women was killed and the other severely injured.
Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, and Mary Kristene Chapa, 18, were found in knee-deep grass in a nature area in Portland by a couple Saturday morning, said Portland Police Chief Randy Wright, who confirmed to msnbc.com details first reported by the Corpus Christi Caller Times.
Rainbow ribbons, goodbye messages, flowers and cut-out hearts were posted around the site where they were found. On Friday, a candlelight vigil and walk will be held for Chapa and Olgin.
“It’s something that I think all of us are going to carry with us for a while,” Frank Reyna, a friend of both girls, told msnbc.com. “It’s going to take a while to get past this, the idea that there is somebody still out there that did this to these two amazing, beautiful people, and that they’re walking free right now.”
Olgin, originally from Ingleside but recently living in Corpus Christi, died; Chapa, of Sinton, was rushed to an area hospital where she was in stable condition, Wright said Tuesday in a statement.
Wright said police had recovered a bullet casing from a large-caliber gun at the scene -- leading investigators to believe the shootings occurred where the pair was found -- but they haven’t found the weapon. Two witnesses said they heard what could have been gunshots or firecrackers just before midnight last Friday but did not report it, he said.
“If we had a name, you know, we’d be having a different conversation right now. But we have not been able to gather enough information to identify a suspect yet,” Wright told msnbc.com on Monday. “It appears as if … this was not just a random attack but that’s something that we really have to develop over time.”
A motive had not been established, he said in the statement.
"Information from family and friends indicates that Mollie and Mary were engaged in a same-sex relationship. However, there is no current evidence to indicate the attacks were motivated by that relationship," he said.
Chandler Nunez, who noted that Olgin was one of her best friends in high school, said she was in shock.
“ … I cannot imagine anyone who would want to hurt such a loving and caring person,” she wrote to msnbc.com. “This was incredibly unexpected and the lack of answers makes this tragedy all the more frustrating.”
Friends said the pair had been together since mid-February.
Reyna, a 19-year-old university student, said he grew up with Chapa, and met Olgin his sophomore year of high school. He described Chapa as an athlete who played softball, and said Olgin, a student at a nearby university, was focused on academics but also was a big joker. He last saw them together at a local coffee shop in May, which was the first time he saw them out as a couple.
“I’m glad that that was the last time that I saw Mollie in person, that that’s the memory that I can live with for the rest of my life, knowing that I saw her happy,” he said.
The couple’s relationship “was a readily accepted thing,” he added, and was not what their friends focused on.
“We focused on their personalities and how they got along with everybody else … their kindheartedness and their ability to just make other people smile and make each other smile,” he said. “We didn’t care … what they were, it’s who they were.”
Wright said Monday that all indications were that “third parties” were involved in the assault. Because of her medical condition, Chapa has not been formally interviewed about what happened, he said.
The park, more of a nature area with some parts overgrown and no lights, was often frequented by visitors during the day, but not at night. It is located along a bluff overlooking a bay, Wright said, with some homes situated nearby.
“We’re not really sure how they got to the point that they were found,” he said. “It is a scenic overlook with a wooden deck and there is a place at the edge of the deck where you can actually go down a very steep incline into a grassy area that leads down to the shoreline, and that’s where they were found.”
The crime rate is low in Portland, north of Corpus Christi on the Gulf of Mexico, Wright said. The last homicide occurred two years ago.
While people in the South Texas community prepare for their memorial service, another candlelight vigil for the pair has been organized by Cleve Jones, a gay civil rights activist who conceived the AIDS Memorial Quilt, for Wednesday evening in San Francisco. On Facebook, people noted they would hold vigils in other cities, too.
"You were taken too soon," Megan Olgin, who identified herself as Olgin’s sister on Facebook, wrote in a post. "I love you and always will. You're my guardian angel. I love you little sister. Forever and always ♥"
Editor's note: The Portland Police had initially spelled Chapa's name as Christine, though her friends spelled it Kristene. The police department's latest press release Tuesday evening has changed the spelling to Kristene.
More content from msnbc.com and NBC News:
- NBC exclusive: Matt Sandusky details sex abuse by his father
- Report: Missing oil tycoon's wife had sought divorce
- Video: As burglars break in, calm teen dials 911
- Supreme Court ruling leaves Arizona illegal immigrants on edge
- Teen lesbian couple shot in Texas park