Funeral Set For Slain Teen As Students Return To Class
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Updated 5:45 p.m. on 10/31/2011
CHICAGO (CBS) – Students returned to school Monday for the first time at Lyons Township High School South since a freshman classmate was murdered in her home last week when she walked in on a burglary.
There was a moment of silence for Kelli O’Laughlin before classes began. Students were also told that counselors were available for anybody who wanted to talk about the tragedy. White ribbons lined Willow Springs road leading up to the school.
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Crime-scene tape still surrounded the O’Laughlin family’s residence — a reminder to her neighbors that her killer is still at large. Many neighbors say Halloween won’t be the same.
“I have a feeling there won’t be a lot of children walking alone like the years before,” neighbor Elaine Kaminski told CBS 2’s Mai Martinez.
Kaminski says she is racked with guilt because says she was home when Kelli was killed Thursday afternoon. She wishes there was something she could’ve done.
Kelli’s death has also taken a toll on everyone who knew her. At her elementary school, middle school, and high school, there are memorials and tributes to the freshman.
The park next to her home has also become a place for people to remember her.
The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for O’Laughlin’s murder has risen to $50,000, thanks to several private donations. Kelli’s tennis club, Score Tennis and Fitness, is also planning a fundraiser to raise even more money for that reward on Nov. 11.
Forty officers from the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are working this case around the clock. Police say they have received more than 90 tips, but there are still no arrests.
Meanwhile, Kelli O’Laughlin’s funeral arrangements were announced.
Visitation will be Wednesday and Thursday at Hallowell and James Funeral Home, 1025 West 55th St., Countryside, between 4 and 9 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be 9:45 a.m. Friday at St. John of the Cross Church, 5005 Wolf Road, Western Springs, with the burial at Fairmont Willow Hills Memorial Park in Willow Springs.
Neighbors told police they saw somebody suspicious in the area, which has had six or seven homes burglarized recently.
Police have released a sketch of a suspect. They have also said the burglar may have taken coins from the family home.