crimesider

Connecticut teen stabbing victim’s autopsy released

People gather on the beach for a vigil in honor of slain student Maren Sanchez in Milford, Connecticut, April 25, 2014. Reuters/Michelle McLoughlin

HARTFORD, Connecticut - A 16-year-old girl stabbed at her high school on the day of her junior prom died of wounds to her torso and neck, Connecticut's chief medical examiner said Sunday.

The medical examiner's office ruled that Maren Sanchez's death was a homicide.

A 16-year-old male classmate is charged with murder as a juvenile in the stabbing at Jonathan Law High School in Milford. The attack occurred Friday morning, hours before the school's prom, and authorities are investigating whether Sanchez was stabbed after turning down the boy's invitation to the dance.

"He asked her to prom; she said, 'No, I have a new boyfriend,'" junior Jill Davis told CBS News. "He strangled her and then slit her throat and then stabbed her in the arm and then ran, and the cops got him."

Police haven't released the suspect's name. A friend of the victim's and an athlete described him as genial and respectful.

The suspect's attorney, Richard Meehan, says his client is being held in a hospital under psychiatric evaluation. The suspect will not appear at an arraignment scheduled for Monday in New Haven, the attorney said.

Meehan has said the suspect's family is reeling from the attack.

"His family is devastated not only for him, but the youngster who was killed. It's a terrible situation all the way around," Meehan said.

Mark Robinson, a technical education teacher, said the suspect is the third of five brothers and has a good sense of humor. His family has deep roots in the community, Robinson said.

"There's no reason to suspect he would have done this. I think that's what makes it harder," Robinson said.

Classmate Imani Langston, who saw the suspect being read his rights and taken away in a police car, said Sanchez and the boy were just friends and had never dated.

Sanchez, a member of the prestigious National Honor Society who was active in drama and other school activities, had been focused on prom in the days before her death. She had posted a photograph on Facebook of her blue prom dress and was looking forward to attending with a new boyfriend.

Milford Alderwoman Greta Stanford said the school would remain closed Monday.

A memorial service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday on the school's football field. Organizers are seeking donations so the junior class can buy a memorial bench in Sanchez's honor.

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