PORTAGE — Family and friends recalled Adriana Saucedo at a vigil Thursday night, a month after she was killed.
“It was a blessing and an honor to know her,” said Rae Collins, one of many friends at the vigil. “She was so kind to you. She was always there for you.”
Saucedo, 27, of Portage, was shot and killed Nov. 19, police said, for the cash she was carrying. Three teenagers, ages 15 to 17, are being held in the killing and felony robbery of Saucedo, a registered medical assistant.
However, as Paula Biller, one of Saucedo's sisters, said, “This (vigil) is not about the defendants. It’s about her.
"We will always have her in our thoughts and prayers and especially in our hearts.”
Allegedly killed over $100, Saucedo was reported missing when she failed to show up for work.
Jullisa Feliciano, a registered nurse who worked with Saucedo, described her coworker as “an absolutely wonderful, good-hearted person who would help anybody. Often times, she was the first in and the last out.”
The killing, Feliciano said, “makes no sense. I was in total shock, total disbelief.”
Saucedo was visiting another sister, Diana Meeks, in Portage, when the teen suspects arrived at the apartment complex after communicating with Saucedo on Facebook. At some point, police said, Saucedo got into the teens’ vehicle, and that was the last time she was seen.
Shortly thereafter, Saucedo sent a Facebook message stating that she and an unknown male would be stopping for gas. Court records stated the teens stopped to buy some gas before driving to a parking lot about a quarter-mile from Meeks’ apartment.
It was in the area of the Frontier building, police said, that Saucedo was shot, after which the suspects drove to Gary and dumped her body in the abandoned Horace S. Norton School.
The 15-year-old suspect, whom police said drove the vehicle, later led authorities to Saucedo’s body, found Nov. 21 at the school under a large roll of carpet.
Patty Lopez, an aunt, noted, “I keep saying, she did it on her own. She went to college, she got a job.”
Tammy Dunahoo, a neighbor of Meeks, was holding a poster for vigil attendees to sign and leave a message. “She was a very sweet girl who stepped up to help. She loved her dogs and family a lot. She will be missed,” Dunahoo said.
Lourdes Santiago, another friend, said Saucedo was a “wonderful person who had a good heart and was always happy. She had a lot to live for, a lot to live for. Just an amazing person.”
Vigil attendees left teddy bears at the base of the Frontier flagpole. Attendees also released balloons and a lighted lantern to honor their late friend and relative. They also observed two minutes of silence at 7:10 p.m., the estimated time that Saucedo was shot. She had left Meeks’ home at 7 p.m., Meeks said.
Isaiah Mangrum, a nephew, said his late aunt meant everything to him.
“She was not just an aunt, but she was more like a sister,” Mangrum said. “She taught me everything. She taught me how to drive when I was 12, but she also taught me to always stand up for myself and do whatever I put my mind to do. I could talk to her about anything.”
Julio Santiago considered Saucedo his best friend. “We used to talk, have conversations, play games together,” Santiago said. “She had an amazing personality. She always had a way of making people smile.”
Biller had T-shirts made with this message “Justice for Adriana” and artwork of a heart with a halo and angel’s wing.
Meeks called for justice, not just for her sister, but for all victims of “senseless violence.”
Nina Serrano, who also considered Saucedo her best friend, chanted, “Justice for all. We’ll love you forever.”
Serrano added, “She never cared about her own problems. I was bad in high school, and she set me right.”
Afterward, Meeks called the vigil “good, great, beautiful. Just enough people here.”