GREAT BEND, Kan. -- A 14-year-old central Kansas girl whose charred remains were found at an asphalt plant last week was a vivacious teen who loved bright colors and preferred wearing flip flops over any other type of shoes, according to those who knew her.
About 2,000 people turned out for a candlelight vigil to remember Alicia DeBolt on Sunday, the eve of the first court appearance for a 36-year-old man authorities have called a "person of interest" in her death.
Some of her young friends wore flip flops and wrapped blue ribbons in their hair in honor of the teen they called "Babygurl," who would have started her freshman year of high school as a cheerleader on Aug. 23.
"She didn't deserve to die the way she did," Erica Schwager, a 15-year-old friend, said tearfully.
DeBolt's body was so badly burned that it took dental records to positively identify it. Authorities have not said how she died.
"It is really disrespectful to do that to a 14-year-old girl," Erica said.
Adam Joseph Longoria will appear in court Monday on theft and vehicular burglary charges, relating to a vehicle stolen from the asphalt plant where Alicia's body was found Tuesday. Alicia left her house at about 11 p.m. on Aug. 21 to go to a party, and her family reported her missing the next afternoon.
Sixteen-year-old Vickie Crawford, who made T-shirts for her friends and family with Alicia's picture, said she didn't know Longoria and didn't think Alicia would hang out with someone that old. The two girls had lived together last year and were really good friends, she said.
Rev. Scott Solether, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Great Bend, said Alicia's death has affected a lot of people in the community who didn't even know the girl. Great Bend is a city of about 15,600 people about 95 miles northwest of Wichita.
"First shock this would happen, then anger it would happen to someone so young and then a lot of compassion," he said. "That is what you are seeing here tonight."
Longoria had only been out of prison for three months when authorities said the Highway Patrol caught him Friday off Interstate 70 near Salina. He is being held in Barton County and officials do not believe he has an attorney.
The Kansas charges are the latest in a long rap sheet for Longoria, who was released May 25 from a Texas prison after completing a seven-year sentence for aggravated robbery. Records in Texas show Longoria has done time there since 1991 for charges including burglary, forgery, credit card abuse, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, escape from prison and evading arrest.