Crime

Friends remember West Mecklenburg High student at vigil

It has been a few days since 15-year-old Heaven Seay's death in a car wreck on Tuesday, and family, friends and other people from the community who attended a candlelight vigil for her are still coming to terms with losing her.

"I just broke down, and didn't know what to think," said Kaitlyn Untz, Heaven's younger sister.

Heaven died in a car crash in west Charlotte. The driver, Austin Locke, 18, remains in critical condition. The Mitsibishi Eclipse wrecked in an area between Charlotte Douglas International Airport and the Catawba River, about two hours after school started.

Many people dropped off candles, flowers and other gifts at the vigil to honor Heaven and say their good byes. Untz said she has been overwhelmed with the community's support since the day of Heaven's death, but she wishes her big sister was still around.

"She was my only sister,” Untz told WBTV, the Observer’s news partner. “Whenever I got told she died, I just didn't think so because she has always been there for me. I didn't want to lose her."

Many of Heaven's friends saw her as family.

"She was like a sister to me," said lifelong friend Stacie Winecoff.

The vigil began at 6 p.m. It lasted through most of the evening, with dozens of people stopping by. One thing friends remember about Heaven was how kind and full of life she was.

"If I needed something, she was always there," Winecoff said.

Friends and family members were not surprised by how many people came to the vigil. They said she was everybody's friend, and her death will leave behind a big void in the community.

"Everybody loved her," Untz said. "If she met you, you would love her instantly. She's just so loveable."

Heaven's funeral is Monday.

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