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Denny’s hosts benefit for Aurora murder victim

Abigail Villalpando 18  graduate West AurorHigh School was found  murdered Sunday Feb. 3 2013

Abigail Villalpando, 18, a graduate of West Aurora High School, was found murdered on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013

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Updated: March 21, 2013 6:33AM

AURORA — Denny’s at the Westfield Fox Valley Mall will host a benefit Thursday night in honor of Abigail Villalpando, the West Aurora High School student and Denny’s waitress who was murdered Jan. 31.

The Denny’s at 4330 Fox Valley Center Drive will donate 20 percent of all sales between 6 and 9 p.m. Thursday to the Abigail Villalpando Memorial Fund. The 18-year-old senior was a well-respected server at the restaurant for two years, and Denny’s hopes to raise funds to help her family cover funeral costs, said a company spokesman.

“Our hearts are heavy with the tragic loss of a beloved colleague, team member and friend,” said John Miller, chief executive officer of Denny’s. “The outpouring of guest support has been overwhelming, and we hope that with this benefit night we are able to help Aby’s family through this difficult time and make a difference in a community that so loved and cherished her.”

Another benefit — this one featuring live music — will be held from 7 p.m. until midnight Sunday at Ballydoyle Irish Pub & Restaurant, 28 W. New York Street, Aurora.

Electro Rubber Band, Smoke’m Records and Bradley Keven Green will perform throughout the evening. There is a $5 cover charge at the door and all ages are welcome. The event will feature raffles and prizes, as well.

Guests can also visit Chase Bank locations nationwide to make a financial contribution to the “Abigail Villalpando Fund.”

Juan Garnica Jr., 18, Aurora, who was a childhood friend of Villalpando’s, has been charged with her murder. 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.

Besides the first degree murder charges against Garnica, police have charged Jose Becerra, 20, of Oswego, with concealment of a homicide and concealment of the death of a person. A third man, 19-year-old Enrique Prado of Aurora, is also charged with arson and concealment of a homicide.

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