Student mourned

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Pickerington North High School students gathered in the courtyard of their school Nov. 19 to hold a candlelight vigil for sophomore Valorie McCrerey, 15, who lost her life the previous Saturday.

Fairfield County sheriff deputies found McCrerey, her mother Sara Garten, 45, her stepfather Robert Garten, 43, and the family dog dead from gunshot wounds in an alleged homicide/suicide in their home on Capetown Avenue in Violet Township on Nov. 17.

Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said it appears that Robert Garten shot the others then turned the gun on himself.

The sheriff’s office investigated the home after a concerned relative called to say he couldn’t make contact with the family.

The school honored McCrerey on Nov. 19 with a moment of silence and counselors were on hand to help the grieving students. The Pickerington Board of Education also observed a moment of silence for her at their meeting that night.

Pickerington North Principal Mike Smith said McCrerey had several good friends. He estimates 80 people attended the vigil.

McCrerey did well academically and last year was a member of the ski club. She participated in a service program in which she assisted a teacher at Heritage Elementary.

Smith said the students have reacted differently to the loss.  Some have become quiet, others tearful and there are those who wanted to share their memories of Valorie.

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