Classmates of 16-year-old Maren Sanchez, stabbed to death in the hallway of a Connecticut high school Friday morning, paid tribute to the beloved teen by dressing up and bringing out the gown she would have worn to their junior prom.
Dressed in their best tuxedos and long gowns, Sanchez's friends released purple balloons in her memory at Walnut Beach, Conn. Her friends said Sanchez loved the color purple.
"Purple symbolizes royalty and to me Maren was royal," said Imani Langston, who called Sanchez her best friend. "For something tragic like this to happen it's just crazy."
She joined hundreds of students and parents on Friday night for a memorial. Langston says she spoke to Sanchez on Thursday.
"We talked about her prom dresses. We were talking about getting ready. I don't know. It's crazy that this happened so quick," Langston said.
Sanchez was stabbed to death at Jonathan Law High School early Friday morning. Police said a 16-year-old student stabbed her in a school hallway. A school nurse and other emergency responders did what they could but it was too late.
"I just can't deal with it. It makes no sense," Langston said.
The touching tribute at Walnut Beach was just one of many held for Sanchez. Hundreds gathered inside the First United Church of Christ in downtown Milford to pray for Sanchez.
“She was the happiest most genuine person I've ever known,” said one of her friends.
Many at the prayer vigil were her close friends; others were complete strangers.
“I've been crying all afternoon... it just rocked our community totally,” said Christine Hoyt.
Sanchez's death has shaken up parents as well.
“I feel like I want to throw up all day I was very sad,” said Lumy Giantomidis, whose son was Sanchez’s classmate and knows the suspect.
“You take your kids to school and you don't know if you're going to see them back,” Giantomidis explained.
Sanchez had a love for theater and singing. Many of her videos are posted online, including one of her performing a cover of the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips.
The musician posted about Sanchez's death on his Twitter and Facebook accounts and called her a "very talented" singer.
I am so sad to hear of the tragic death of Maren Sanchez. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.
— Phillip Phillips (@Phillips) April 25, 2014
The dance was postponed, but Sanchez was named prom queen and "Home" was selected as the prom song.
You can watch Sanchez's version of "Home" here.