BOSTON – Friends and relatives of a 24-year-old graduate student who was found raped and strangled in New York remembered her Saturday for her infectious smile, bold confidence, love of board games and penchant for high heels.
"You were and are the love of my life," Maureen St. Guillen said at her daughter's funeral. "When I need to speak to you it will be private. I will go into my heart, where you will always be."
The body of Imette St. Guillen was found dumped in Brooklyn on the side of a service road last week. She was raped, strangled and suffocated with packaging tape that had been wrapped around her face.
Police said Saturday that they have no suspects. A $42,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
On Saturday, two dozen Boston police motorcycles were parked outside the funeral home. Across the street was a phalanx of television cameras and photographers.
Inside were St. Guillen's old friends from Boston Latin High School, her college classmates from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and her new peers from New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she was on the dean's list and months away from a master's degree.
Photos in the funeral home showed St. Guillen surrounded by a crush of friends; hugging two dogs; flashing a smile next to a rushing river.
Friends recalled her love of game nights, when she would dominate them in board games, especially Taboo. They remembered how she always somehow knew when a friend needed a phone call, and how she never hesitated to tell people she loved them.
St. Guillen wrote in her high school yearbook that she wanted the strength of her mother, the intelligence of her sister and the heart of her father, who died in 1990, but that she wanted to be her own person.
Friends said she fulfilled that, and much more.
"I can't say goodbye to you," said her sister, Alejandra St. Guillen. "I just can't find the words. I will be saying goodbye to you for the rest of my life."