MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A high school community is grappling with the sudden loss of a student who classmates said had everything going for her.
Maren Sanchez was fatally stabbed inside Jonathan Law High School on Friday morning. Students said it was at the hands of an ex-boyfriend whose prom proposal Sanchez rejected. She was 16.
The 16-year-old suspect has been charged with murder as a juvenile but could later be charged as an adult. The suspect’s lawyer told the Associated Press that his client is under psychological evaluation.
On Saturday, some returned to the school to share grief and start the healing process. There were counselors, staff and even therapy dogs on hand, and local businesses supplied a surplus of food.
“Milford businesses have been incredible donating pizzas, pasta, garlic knots, hamburgers, coffee, drinks, and desserts—and so much more,” students wrote on Facebook.
Outside, a memorial stands in the form of a rock painted purple, which was Sanchez’s favorite color. Throughout the day, people came to lay flowers, console one another and attempt to make sense of a senseless situation.
“She has every right to say no (to the suspect’s purported proposal),” said one mourner. “He could have asked any girl to go with him but he didn’t have to do this.”
Sanchez was an athlete, a musician, a National Honor Society member, and a well-liked and respected student at Law.
“Today was her big day,” Sarah Golden, a friend, said Friday, the day of junior prom. “She had everything planned out (with) her boyfriend. How could someone be so heartless?”
“Maren should be celebrating at her prom this evening with her friends and classmates,” Edward Kovac, a cousin who spoke on behalf of the family, said Friday. “Instead, we are mourning her death and we are trying as a community to understand this senseless loss of life.”
The junior prom and post-prom activities were postponed indefinitely.
Kovac said Sanchez will be remembered as “a bright light full of hopes and dreams with her future at her fingertips.”
The healing process continues Monday with a vigil scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the football field at Law, according to the high school newspaper.
The Advocate also reports that classes are canceled for Monday but the school will be open from noon to 5 p.m. for “students and parents who wish to see counselors or support staff.” Classes are expected to resume Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the suspected killer is likely to remain in a medical facility for two weeks, according to the lawyer of the accused, Attorney Richard Meehan, who added that the boy won’t appear at an arraignment scheduled for Monday in New Haven.
The chief state medical examiner’s office Saturday said the cause of death was “stab wounds to the trunk and neck” and ruled it a homicide.
News 8’s Josh Scheinblum and The Associated Press contributed to this report