HARTFORD, Conn. – A 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death inside a Connecticut high school Friday, and police took a teenage boy into custody and are investigating whether the attack stemmed from her turning down an invitation to be his prom date.
Emergency responders were called to Jonathan Law High School in Milford, about an hour's drive from New York City, around 7:15 a.m. Staff members and paramedics performed life-saving measures on the girl, but she was pronounced dead shortly before 8 a.m. at Bridgeport Hospital, police said.
A 16-year-old boy was taken into custody. His name wasn't released because of juvenile offender laws, said Police Chief Keith Mello. Investigators are looking into reports that the boy stabbed the girl after she declined to be his date for the junior prom, which had scheduled for Friday night but was postponed because of the stabbing.
Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Feser identified the victim as Maren Sanchez, a junior who was in the National Honor Society and engaged in school activities. Students were released from school early, and officials were offering counseling services.
Students described an emotional, somewhat chaotic scene with people crying as police and paramedics swarmed the school. Students flocked to social media sites to try to find out what was going on.
Sarah Golden, a 14-year-old freshman, said she was sitting in the main lobby with friends Friday morning when she was startled by several security guards running down the hall. Then she heard a voice on a walkie-talkie say that someone had been strangled. She was shocked when she learned about the stabbing.
"I was trying not to freak out because it was really scary," Sarah said. "I just don't believe that something like that happened at my school. It's something that seems so unreal."
Golden's sister, Rebecca, a 17-year-old senior at the school, said she saw the victim lying on the floor surrounded by teachers, some of whom were crying. She said she didn't know what was going on at the time, and teachers directed her away from the victim.
"We are obviously devastated by the loss of one of our students, Maren Sanchez," Feser, the superintendent, said at a news conference. "She was a 16-year-old junior — vibrant, very, very involved in Jonathan Law High School, an incredible contributor, someone who was loved and respected. ... The Jonathan Law community mourns greatly the loss of Maren, and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family."
Associated Press writer Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report.