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Friends honor Connecticut teen stabbing victim by crowning her prom queen

A 16-year-old high school student could be arraigned as soon as Monday in a Connecticut courtroom after being accused of stabbing a fellow classmate, Maren Sanchez, to death after Sanchez turned down his invitation to the prom.

She died of wounds to her neck and torso sustained Friday morning, hours before she was supposed to go to the dance, reports CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.

The junior prom at Jonathan Law High School was postponed, but Maren Sanchez's friends put on their gowns and tuxes anyway. At a nearby beach, they released balloons, held up her prom dress, and crowned the slain 16-year-old as their prom queen.

"She was always happy, and it took a lot to get her down, and she was always there for you if you were her friend," said Evelyn Castro, Sanchez's friend.

Sanchez was found stabbed early Friday morning inside her school. She died of her injuries at a local hospital about half an hour later.

The teenage suspect, whom CBS News is not identifying, was taken into custody. According to his attorney, he is undergoing a medical evaluation.

Students were surprised the suspect was one of their own.

"He seemed like a nice guy. I didn't really get into any in-depth conversations with him, but just 'Hi,'" said student Brittany Welkes. "He didn't seem like anything to be worried about."

Friends say Sanchez was looking forward to going to her prom with her boyfriend, which is why she had turned the suspect down.

"Maren should be celebrating at her prom this evening with her friends and classmates. Instead we are mourning her death and we are trying, as a community, to understand this senseless loss of life," said Edward Kovak, the victim's cousin.

Sanchez was popular. She was an honor student, class president and active in sports and theater.

"She loved getting involved in stuff and being head of things, and she was good at it," Castro said.

Sanchez's name has been painted on a rock at the high school, which remains closed this morning. A memorial service is planned for tonight on the school's football field. Sanchez was supposed to take part in a school production of "Little Shop of Horrors" at the end of the week.

The show will go on in her honor.

As for the suspect, his lawyers expect he will eventually be charged as an adult.

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