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Memorial service held for slain teen

Posted December 8, 2008

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— Friends and family of a slain teenager held a public memorial service at 4 p.m. Monday at Peace Presbyterian Church in Cary.

The church held a private prayer service Sunday for Matthew Josiah Silliman, 18, of Apex, whom police found murdered at an unoccupied home in New Hill on Dec. 2.

Silliman's parents first reported him missing Nov. 26. Wake County sheriff's investigators say four other Wake County teens killed him Nov. 30. Authorities identified his body on Dec. 4.

Among those attending Sunday night's prayer service was 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 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. It was his project in obtaining an honor that only about 5 percent of Scouts obtain, the coveted Eagle Scout rank.

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

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.

Last week, police arrested Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 17, Ryan Patrick Hare, 18, Aadil Shahid Khan, 17, and Drew Logan Shaw, 16, and charged them 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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  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 11, 2008

    I see life in prison for all four.

  • sikntird Dec 8, 2008

    i first have to admit that i have not read in its entirety each and every posting here ...its to hard!!!!! Everyone seems so quick to point the finger at "someone" other than at the individual. You cant point the finger at parents or peers there is pressure on both sides. Unless we are talking about someone who is "legitimately" intellectually disabled or just a sociopath you have a conscious and and the ability to say I dont want any part of this !!!!! At the ages we are talking about is way after they were pressured into doing some thing bad!!!!Parents are not perfect .Friends are not perfect. Life can be ugly....and usually is for most....guttin it out & gettin through the rough spots!!! Accept consequences for your actions .....thats what learning & life is about!!!as heartbreaking as it may be at times..just watching and seeing all the monday morning quarterbacking pulls on my heartstrings.....

  • grenlyn1 Dec 8, 2008

    This was another senseless death of a caring, loving, individual who lived life positively among us. Why can these thugs not be stopped in a society that allows them to get away with taking the lives of innocent people. Why can't officials stop making excuses and address this problem head on. I for one am sick and tired of these kind of stories and want SOMEONE TO FIX IT BECAUSE IT IS GETTING WAY OUT OF HAND!!!

  • TheAdmiral Dec 8, 2008

    "And, obviously, he had given up on the followings of the Boy Scouts if he dyed his hair....."

    I can tell you right now, it does not matter if you are a Boy Scout or a priest. If a cult following gets into your mind you are lost to those who don't dare to do anything about it.

  • TheAdmiral Dec 8, 2008

    "I am a parent too. There is no 'battle'. Your kids are not the enemy. They are a part of you."

    Your kids may not be the enemy, but if you are doing nothing to show that there are other places to go and things to do then you have become part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

    When is the last time you told your D student that you are not going to kill him or her because of the grades, but you were going to help them do better?

    A parent who believes that they are not at war with their kids over what is going on at school and in society has lost the battle. The reason is is that they are turning the kid against you, and if you have the lazy attitude that no matter what you do it does not matter.

    You have lost the battle, the war, and your son or daughter.

    Plain and simple.

  • JAT Dec 8, 2008

    mjones - calm down, I never said you didn't talk to your kids! But you can either be a parent or a friend - my friends don't follow me around doing "drivebys", although neither did my parents as they knew they could trust me. You may want to think you're their friend, but if you're as conscientous as you say, you're doing your job as a parent.

  • meh_whatever Dec 8, 2008

    Unless I'm missing some vital info, they haven't released the details around the actual death. I think it best to wait and see. There's no telling what happened. It does sound like these kids were all friends, for whatever reason. No need to assume that 4 of them suddenly turned into violent murderers. It could've been a very tragic accident of some sort.

    Regardless of the manner of death, this is a horrible situation, for all involved.

  • T-Man Dec 8, 2008

    honestly I don't think that our analyzing the details really means much of anything. What matters is that two parents are burying their son today, and more parents are looking at losing their children for a very long time. Those families need our thoughts and prayers right now.

  • mjones3 Dec 8, 2008

    JAT....read my previous posts! I do talk to my teens. I know who their friends are and who their friends parents are. I even check up on them by doing drive bys to see if they are actually where they say they are going to be. Imagine that! I am first and foremost their parent but alas, you can also be a friend as well.

  • jajs Dec 8, 2008

    anyone remember the west memphis three? 3 innocent kids put in jail because they listened to metallica and didn't wear their hair high and tight. lets wait until the trial happens before we judge anyone. goth this, antichrist that....we may never get the whole story. consider that in the history of scouts they might have had someone commit a bad crime.....and that in the history of goth/metal music someone who listens to it might have grown up to actually do some good