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Aurora murder victim Abigail Villalpando laid to rest

Family Friends arrive St. Therese Church Aurorfor funeral Aby Villalpando Monday February 11 2013. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

Family and Friends arrive at St. Therese Church in Aurora for the funeral of Aby Villalpando on Monday, February 11, 2013. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 13, 2013 6:15AM

Dressed in black hooded sweatshirts that featured a large smiling picture of Abigail Villalpando, a procession of about 40 mourners made its way into St. Therese Church in Aurora, as family and friends paid last respects Monday morning to the 18-year-old murder victim.

The service for Villalpando, which was said all in Spanish by the Rev. Timothy Piasecki, pastor of St. Mary Church in Aurora, focused on the many questions left behind after the teenager’s brutal murder Jan. 31.

Aurora police say the 18-year-old West High School student was killed by Juan Garnica Jr., who was a childhood friend of Villalpando’s. According to authorities, Garnica hit her several times in the head with a hammer, then set her body on fire before dumping it into a Montgomery field.

While it is hard to comprehend how something like this could happen, the priest told the several hundred people who attended the funeral Mass that loved ones must remember there are times when there simply are no answers. And this is where we must rely on faith in God to help navigate these dark days of uncertainty, he said.

After the service at the church, the long procession of cars made its way to the city’s far East Side and past Denny’s Restaurant at Westfield Fox Valley Mall, where Villalpando was a popular waitress. Friends and family said she worked long hours, as well as attended school; and was a loyal friend to many.

In addition to first degree murder charges against Garnica, police have charged Jose Becerra with concealment of a homicide and concealment of the death of a person. A third man, 19-year-old Enrirque Prado, is also charged with arson and concealment of a homicide.

Her murder is the first in the city of Aurora in over a year. Mayor Tom Weisner and Assistant Chief of Staff Chuck Nelson also attended the funeral service.

After winding past Villalpando’s workplace, the procession of cars made its way west again to Spring Lake Cemetery on South Lincoln in Aurora, where the young murder victim was laid to rest.

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