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In purple and black, a community mourns

Updated 12:28 am, Friday, May 2, 2014

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  • A large crowd of mourners lined up outside The Cody White Funeral Home in Milford, Conn. on Thursday, May 1, 2014. Hundreds came to pay their respect to the family of Maren Sanchez, the 16 year-old Jonathan Law High student who was fatally stabbed at school last week. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

    A large crowd of mourners lined up outside The Cody White Funeral Home in Milford, Conn. on Thursday, May 1, 2014. Hundreds came to pay their respect to the family of Maren Sanchez, the 16 year-old Jonathan Law High student who was fatally stabbed at school last week.

    Photo: Autumn Driscoll

 

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MILFORD -- What should have been a delightful, sun-dappled afternoon was instead one of tears and grief as more than a thousand mourners lined up Thursday to pay their final respects to Maren Victoria Sanchez, the engaging 16-year-old girl whose life ended last week in a knife attack at Jonathan Law High School.

The line of friends and acquaintances encircled the Cody-White Funeral Home on the green, stretching nearly to the Metro-North Railroad tracks a block to the north. Most were students from Law High, many wearing purple and black. Others wore the suits and dresses that they would have worn to Law's junior prom, which was to have taken place on April 25, the day Sanchez was killed. There were scores of students there from Joseph Foran High School, Law's cross-town rival, too.

Those leaving the funeral home said Sanchez was wearing the teal dress that she had planned to wear to the prom.

"She looked beautiful," said one mourner who asked not to be identified. "Like she was asleep. So sad, so incredibly tragic."

Many mourners sobbed and hugged one another. There were therapy dogs for the mourners to pet, all wagging their tails in front of the funeral home.

"What can you say? The grief still hasn't set in all the way," said David Kristy 23, of Bridgeport, a friend of the family, after exiting the funeral home. "She will always be with us in our hearts. It's good that the community came together for the family. But I don't see it getting easier anytime soon."

Some of the Jonathan Law students arrived by school bus, others came on foot. Parking spaces were difficult to come by on the green and on some of its side streets. About a half-dozen TV trucks were parked along the green, too.

The wake was scheduled from 2 to 7 p.m., and the line wasn't as long as the afternoon turned into evening. This was the last chance for mourners and classmates to pay their respects; no funeral was planned and burial will be private.

Katie Johnson, 15, and her mom, Sherry, were seen tying purple ribbons on the trees on the green in front of the funeral home.

Katie, who attends Foran High, said students there were shocked by last Friday's events, too.

"Most of the students at Foran really didn't know Maren, but we want to show our support for her and her family," she said. "It's hard to picture how hard it is for everyone after this."

Katie Johnson's mom is a technician at Bridgeport Hospital where Sanchez was rushed after her assailant stabbed her in the throat with a kitchen knife.

"That part is so sad, I can't even talk about it," Sherry Johnson said.

Christopher Plaskon, 16, also a junior at Law High, is to be tried as an adult in the homicide, and is being held in a psychiatric facility on $3 million bond. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Milford on Friday morning.

School officials immediately called off the junior prom after the fatal assault. It will be rescheduled, they said.