Local News

Slain 13-year-old remembered as peacekeeper, fighter

Posted December 12, 2012 5:36 p.m. EST
Updated December 12, 2012 7:16 p.m. EST

— A teenager from Sampson County who died over the weekend following a shooting at her father's home outside Clinton is being remembered as a peacekeeper among her friends and as a fighter on the soccer field.

The Sampson County Sheriff's Office says Larissa Estrada, 13, died Sunday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill after her father, Edwin Estrada, shot her before killing himself Friday night.

The case has left teachers, classmates and friends reeling from the news.

"She was out of this world," Marcelle Powell, Larissa's eighth-grade math teacher at Hobbton Middle School in Newton Grove, said Wednesday. "Every task she was given to do, she did it to her absolute best ability, and it was always to perfection."

Powell said Larissa didn't like fussing or drama among her fellow students and tried to keep peace between them, if necessary.

"She was just a precious, sweet child and a tremendous loss to our school," Powell said.
"Her only aggression was fighting on the soccer field for a win."

Larissa played forward and midfield for the 98 CASL Chelsea, an elite team for her age group.

"Larissa definitely was somebody who had as much passion for the game and her teammates and her team than anyone I've been around," said her coach, Damon Nahas.

Even for the team, Larissa's death is not just a loss on the field.

"The thing is, she made us all better people and made us happier, and we have to remember all of those things," Nahas said.

Classmates are also remembering her.

On Monday, they released balloons in Larissa's honor and wore purple – her favorite color.

They also set up a memorial by a tree in front of the school, with written messages and yellow ribbons on the tree in her memory.

"She had this certain laugh that was her. It was just so unique," Larissa's best friend, Madison Warren, said.

Authorities have not discussed a motive for the shooting.

Larissa's brother went to his father's home on Friday night to find his sister after she didn't return to the home they shared with their mother.

When no one answered the door, authorities say, the brother forced his way inside and found Edwin Estrada dead from a gunshot wound and his sister slumped over.

A visitation is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday at West & Dunn Funeral Home in Newton Grove. She will be buried at noon Thursday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, also in Newton Grove.

"We all know where she’s at. She’s in a very good place," Warren said. "We just miss her. I will always miss her. Every day, I will think of her."