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Columbia College holds memorial for slain student

Friday, April 9, 2010 | 3:01 p.m. CDT; updated 5:51 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 12, 2010

COLUMBIA – Students and faculty gathered Tuesday at Columbia College to share memories of slain senior Kimberly Smith and help each other through the grieving process.

Terri Zeilenga, director of counseling and mental health services at Columbia College, said the purpose of the gathering was both to honor Smith and support students. Smith was set to graduate next month with a degree in criminal justice.

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“We wanted to give those students that knew her an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings with each other, and to receive support,” she said.

At the gathering, students and faculty were also given time to contribute memories or comments to a mural that will be given to Smith’s family.

Zeilenga said her department has offered information about grieving and continues to encourage students and faculty to come to their offices for additional support.

The bodies of Smith, 20, and her boyfriend, Rafe Wagner, were found on March 29 in Wagner’s house in Troy. Authorities say both died of gunshot wounds.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Detective Shayne Duryea said that the department still considers the case a murder-suicide and that Wagner pulled the trigger.

“The investigation has not been closed yet, but there’s been nothing uncovered during the course of the investigation that would make us believe anything different,” Duryea said.


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