WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 24, 2011, 09:40 AM

Friends, students, and community members remember Tabitha Belmonte

Perham, Minn. (WDAY TV) - The 16-year old Perham Student, involved in a murder-suicide earlier this week, is being honored tonight with a candle light vigil.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

The candlelight vigil just wrapped up. Everyone has left the memorial site, but you still can't help but notice and feel just how much Tabitha meant to so many people here. Flowers, stuffed animals, even a painted picture of her remain. It is a tragic and sad sign of a life cut short.

About 50 friends, students, and community members came to this tree to remember the 16-year old. A fun girl they knew as just Tabby. Each lit a candle in the darkness to pay their respects to someone known to put other people first, loved giving hugs, and always had a bright smile.

Friends huddled in a large group, talking and laughing about memories of Tabby, some just days ago. Some read letters. They call her the best friend anyone could ever have.

TRACEY PRESHER - Tabby's Friend: “I feel like I am going into walk to school and she is going to walk in, which is hard because I don’t know what to think anymore.”

MIRIAH EICKSCHERN - Tabby's Friend: “It’s hard because I don’t know it is just hard to believe that one of our best friends is just gone now and she isn’t coming back.”

Many here tonight wrote memories and prayers on this poster board. This remembrance is the first of many in the days ahead. The next is tomorrow morning at 8:30, here at the school. Students will gather in the gym for a special memorial organized by Tabby's friends.