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Family, Friends Gather At Roanoke College To Remember Stephanie Bennett

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SALEM, VA. — Family and friends of a Raleigh murder victim gathered at her alma mater in Virginia Saturday to honor her memory.

Stephanie Bennett was murdered in her apartment last May. Her loved ones are keeping her memory alive.

Amanda Gamari fought back tears Saturday as she read a poem about Bennett. Family, friends and the detective investigating Bennett's case gathered at Roanoke College to dedicate a bench to Bennett.

Bennett's mother, Molly Hodges, spent some quiet moments thinking about the daughter she lost.

"She was always happy," Hodges said, "always had a smile on her face. If she was here today, she would still have that big smile."

Bennett graduated from Roanoke College in 2001. She would have turned 24 this month. Saturday's ceremony reminded her father of a day when he shed tears of pride instead of pain.

"She was excited the day I brought her here and dropped her off," Carmon Bennett said. "I was nervous and scared. I was the one who cried when I left, not her."

It's been nearly 11 months since Stephanie Bennett was murdered. Raleigh police have spent thousands of hours chasing clues -- a stolen stereo, DNA left at the crime scene. It may seem like the trail has gone cold, but Lt. Chris Morgan, the lead investigator on the case, said he is confident the killer will be caught.

Deanna Powell and Emily Metro lived with Bennett at the time of the murder. Like Bennett's family, they have questions only an arrest will answer.

"Every day you think about: 'Maybe it was someone I saw,'" Metro said. "Do I know the person?"

For now, Bennett's family and friends will focus on the person they lost, while her memory will live on in Roanoke's peaceful setting.

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