Neighbors and classmates, parents and kids alike in Ashtabula, are trying to process the sudden tragic loss of one of their own.

Kara Zdanczewski was barely a teenager.

A 13-year-old student at Lakeside Junior High School.


In such an awful tragic way that it's hard for those who knew her, and even those who didn't, to even to wrap their minds around it.

So they wrapped their arms around each other at a vigil Friday night and held up Kara in prayer.

She was shot and left in an Ashtabula field. Murdered, police believe, by someone who was supposed to be a family friend.

"She was really nice. Why would they do that to her who could do that to a little girl?" 12-year-old Hannah Mathias asks from the steps of St. Joseph's Church on Lake Ave.

She was part of the vigil where a couple dozen people came to do the only thing they knew to do now, pray together.

To pray for for a girl and a family most never knew, but Courtney Sutley knew Kara since first grade. On Friday she said she couldn't stop thinking of, "Her dying, being free, going where she needs to be. Away from everything else that's happening," said Sutley and then offered this sad sign-of-the-times insight.

"I thought that could have happened to anybody not just her. And it HAS," said Sutley.

Teachers described Kara as an A and B student who wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up.

A mom at the vigil who was moved to tears for a girl she hasn't met said it feels almost like Kara is everyone's daughter.

Lakeside Junior High School is having a remembrance ceremony for Kara on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.