Local News

Memorial service held for slain teen

Posted December 8, 2008 5:48 a.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2008 9:51 p.m. EST

— 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.