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Student murdered for saying no to prom date

Maren Sanchez had a new boyfriend and planned to attend the junior prom with him last Friday night, April 25. But she never made it. The New York Times reported April 26 that her former boyfriend, Chris Plaskon, choked and stabbed her Friday morning, before school started. Sanchez dated Plaskon when they were in middle school, and Plaskon apparently never got over it.

Maren Sanchez represented by the dress she planned to wear to prom
Maren Sanchez represented by the dress she planned to wear to promInstagram photo

The stabbing occurred in a stairwell around 7:15 a.m. The bright and cheerful student was declared dead by 7:38 a.m. from stab wounds to her face, neck, and chest. Sanchez's boyfriend, Jerrod Butts staged a memorial service for her with help from his classmates. They took photos dressed in their prom gowns and tuxes, showing the dress the slain student intended to wear for prom. The photos were posted on Instagram.

Plaskon, depending on who tells the tale, was described as disturbed by some students. Others found him to be an entertaining class clown who kept his classmates in stitches with his antics. Some said he was an all-American kid who played football.

The small town of Milford, Connecticut is reeling from events. Things like that just don't happen in this town, and not at Jonathan Law High School where Sanchez was a popular student with everything going for her. She was an athlete, musician, involved in drama, and had twice served as class president. The Times reported that Sanchez planned to perform in the school's production of 'Little Shop of Horrors' as Audrey 2, the man-eating plant.

The head of the drama program, Michael Mele decided not to cancel the show. Instead, the students will perform it in her honor. “Let them grieve,” he told The Times. “Let them come to rehearsal on Monday. If they have to cry for her for two hours, they can. At least they’ll be safe.” Plaskon is being charged with first degree murder.

The family created a Facebook page, 'Maren Sanchez - In Our Hearts' in the slain student's honor. They are selling t-shirts to raise funds for the Maren Sanchez Memorial Fund. A crowdfunding campaign on Go Fund Me also seeks to raise money. Her friends plan to wear their prom gear to other memorials, and to wear purple in her honor on Friday.

Learning to accept rejection and moving on is a part of growing up. Prom comes with many pressures each year. But, something like this is truly shocking. Her friends and family are doing the right thing by speaking out about their grief and remembering her.