MURRAY, Utah (ABC4) – A candlelight vigil honored a 34-year-old woman who was killed after allegedly being stabbed by a 16-year-old teen boy in Murray Thursday night.
Melissa Wood’s life was cut too short after loved ones say she stood up to someone.
“There were racial slurs thrown, she was outside and heard it. They were towards children and a woman,” says Cassidy Knotts, Wood’s close friend.
“She got stabbed over standing up for us here in this neighborhood,” says another friend, Elizabeth Gillette.
“She lost her life trying to help people, which she always has done,” Knotts says.
Those closest to Wood and her family – along with neighbors – honored her life Friday night.
“You’ll notice there’s all different kinds of people that love her and that’s who she was – she loved everybody,” says Andrea Weidauer, Wood’s cousin.
“She’s always been compassionate towards everybody. She’s never judged anybody, she just wants to be a good person, she wanted to be a good person,” Knotts says. “She stood up for equality, for gay pride, for everybody being themselves and not backing down to no one…She was so in love with music, photography, she was doing forensic analysis – she was so on her way to everything.”
“Melissa was a sweet, loving, open, kind-hearted, such a true being, such a true soul, and she will be missed,” Gillette says.
On behalf of Wood’s parents, Weidauer says their hearts are broken, but are grateful to have her as their daughter.
“They want to say how proud they are of Melissa and the decisions that she had made in her life and how much they love and how much they want everyone to know they are genuinely going to miss her,” Weidauer says.
The candlelight vigil brought loved ones together to remember Wood’s life.
“Rest in peace, Melissa,” Gillette says.
“She hasn’t left us yet. She’ll always be right here,” says Marvin McGregor, another friend.
“You’ll always be remembered here in our hearts,” Gillette says.
“Melissa Wood was a beautiful freaking person, and she means a lot to everybody – and meant a lot to everybody and will be missed,” Knotts says.
“I’ll miss her at family events, just being herself, just being funny and cool,” Weidauer says. “There’s just lots of fun family memories.”
The juvenile who is alleged to have killed Wood is in custody and was booked into juvenile detention.
The investigation is ongoing.