Maren Sanchez was just like any other 16-year-old high school junior in the United States, preparing for prom that evening and anticipating the summer break to come.
However, none of that would become a reality for Sanchez after she was brutally attacked Friday in a school hallway, allegedly by a boy who may have killed the National Honor Society member after she refused an invitation to prom.
Prom was postponed indefinitely that night and students gathered for a beachside candlelight vigil with counselors on hand for anyone who needed their help. They planned to be on hand Saturday as well, WFSB television station in Hartford reported.
Family members and friends at the Jonathan Law High School in Milford were devastated by the attack.
"The unprovoked attack on Maren this morning has unfortunately for our family resulted in the permanent loss of Maren Victoria Sanchez, a bright light full of hopes and dreams with her future at her fingertips," her cousin, Edward Kovac, said Friday, on behalf of the family.
More than 200 students turned up for the beach memorial dressed in prom tuxedos and dresses.
Sanchez was very excited about attending the prom with her boyfriend and posted a photograph of herself on Facebook wearing a blue prom dress.
"We were just laughing, talking about what we were going to do when we got there, how many pictures we were going to take," said friend, Imani Langston, remembering a conversation they had the day before the stabbing.
Sanchez, who was involved in drama, was helping to paint the set for a high school production of "Little Shop of Horrors" when she asked to be excused to have her nails done for prom, drama adviser Michael Mele said.
"So here is this girl with her freshly painted prom nails, painting the set, and just having a great time with her classmates talking about plans for the prom and plans for after prom and going on a double date with another one of the drama kids and her new boyfriend," Mele said.
According to the 16-year-old suspect's lawyer, Richard Meehan, the teen was initially charged as a juvenile, but Connecticut law allows the authorities to try minors as adults for murder and other serious crimes.
State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor said there are several factors that go into making a decision to try a minor as an adult. The only exclusion would be for a minor under the age of 14.
Meehan told reporters the young man’s family was distraught.
“They’re devastated not only for him but they’re devastated for Maren Sanchez’s family as well,” he said. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Image via Facebook, Maren Sanchez