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Prayer service held for slain Apex teen

Posted December 7, 2008
Updated December 17, 2008

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— The church family of a slain teenager gathered Sunday to pray for comfort and strength. Peace Presbyterian Church in Cary held a private prayer service for Matthew Josiah Silliman, the Apex teen found slain at an unoccupied home in New Hill.

Silliman was first reported missing by his parents on Nov. 26. His body was identified Thursday. Wake County sheriff's investigators have said he was killed on Nov. 30 by four other Wake County teens.

Among those attending Sunday night's service were Silliman's former Boy Scout leader, Alan O'Neal.

"He's had a great mind (and) a great heart. He loved his friends and we loved him,” O'Neal said.

Silliman's favorite tree – located on the church's grounds – gave the adventurous Boy Scout an idea. He talked to O'Neal about his plans after spotting the area on the satellite images of Google Earth.

"He looked at this land and said, 'This is an ugly spot,'" O'Neal recalled.

Silliman turned the muddied-land into a beautiful gathering spot. The project earned him an honor that only 2 percent of Scouts obtain, the coveted Eagle Scout badge.

"It's what he wanted. I don't know of any Eagle that does it any other way,” O'Neal said.

Even after reaching the pinnacle of Boy Scouts, Silliman helped found a Sea Scouts group, which taught nautical skills.

"We were looking forward to him being a sailor, and being out with us, and enjoying the water," O'Neal said.

While some friends say the 18-year-old had recently grown distant, O'Neal said he was simply a good-hearted person.

"Matt has always been energetic and creative, just a little different," O'Neal said.

O'Neal said it is hard to understand why his life ended tragically.

"This makes absolutely no sense to me. But we're taught that God has purpose and he's working his purpose out,” O'Neal said.

O'Neal said the last thing he talked with Silliman about was placing a bench on his church gathering spot. The Scouts and the church's congregation plan to add the bench in Silliman's honor. They are also holding a public memorial service for him Monday at 4 p.m. at the church.

Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 17, of 601 Walcott Way in Cary; Ryan Patrick Hare, 18, of 100 Walnut Hill Court in Apex; Aadil Shahid Khan, 17, of 901 Bristol Blue St. in Apex and Drew Logan Shaw, 16, of 107 Woolard Way in Apex, were arrested Wednesday and charged with Silliman's murder.

The four suspects were being held in the Wake County jail. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 22.

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