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Friends hold anniversary vigil for Theresa Burns

By WSBT-TV Report
Published On: Jan 11 2014 08:20:41 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 12 2014 05:11:16 AM CST

Friends of a Mishawaka teenager killed in 1988 gathered near her grave to honor her on the anniversary of her death. 

MISHAWAKA -

It's been 26 years since 16-year-old Theresa Burns was killed in her home in Mishawaka.

This evening a group of her classmates and others came together for a candlelight vigil to honor her memory.

The vigil was held in front of her gravesite inside Fairview Cemetery in Mishawaka.

Theresa's friend Marguerite Raymond says, "She was a bundle of energy. She loved life. She loved her friends and we all loved her and we wanted everybody to know that we loved her." 

Raymond knew Theresa Burns since they were young girls.

She was one of the people who helped organize the vigil.

Once all of the candles were lit people took turns sharing stories and memories they had about Theresa.

Then there was a prayer.

Raymond says, "To see all the love and the smiles it's amazing. It's beautiful. It reminds you that there is more love out there than what you realize." 

On January 11th 1988 Theresa Burns left Mishawaka High School to go change her clothes.

Police say burns' boyfriend at the time told investigators he had been talking with her on the phone before noon.

Near the end of the conversation he heard the doorbell ring and burns told him someone was at the door.

They then ended their conversation.

While Theresa was at home a neighbor saw a young man enter the house.

Several hours later a family member found burns on the living room floor.

She had died from multiple gunshot wounds.

It's a day many of Theresa's friends will never forget.

Stefanie Scott was another one of Theresa's friends.

She goes to Theresa's grave often but she says the vigil made this the best visit she's ever had.

Scott says, "So many of us that were touched by her are here now and it's so wonderful because i'm not her alone visiting."

As the candlelight vigil came to a close everyone had a big group hug before they left.

Some of the people haven't seen each other in years so after the vigil many got together to catch up and share more memories of Theresa. 

The case went cold for years until recently when police arrested Phillip Geans of Mishawaka.

Geans has since been charged with killing Theresa Burns.

Geans admitted to police that he knew Theresa through his girlfriend at the time.

Investigators say they were able to connect Geans to the crime through the gun that was used.