Flames flickered in the evening wind at a growing memorial outside Kathleen Smith's home. Community members and friends came by to grieve, to light a candle, and to remember a life that was lost too soon.
"All the good things she would have done with the rest of her life are no longer going to happen and it's a horribly tragedy," says Diana Doll.
A tragedy police say was murder. Smith's body was discovered by a co-worker inside her Park Street home on Monday. Burlington Police believe Smith was killed during what they call a violent attack sometime between last Thursday and Saturday.
"My heart is broken. it's horrific. And she was a wonderful person and everyone is going to miss her terribly."
Doll was a close friend of the 50-year-old victim. She came by the house to put a tent over the growing collection of candles and mementos.
"It helps people because it's something to grieve in front of and something to do. It would be so sad if it was just a black house and an empty yard."
Friends and neighbors say Smith's home was always a hub of activity.
"She's had a nice garden and a nice life here," says Ali Daneu, a neighbor of Smith's.
"She was just this magnificent vivacious person with a lot of energy and she put that energy into so many good projects," says Doll.
Including her work. Smith was employed at the Howard Center, the county's mental health provider, for the last 16 years. Police are investigating all of her professional connections there, including patients, and personal connections too. Without a suspect, neighbors are on edge.
"I mean nervous. It's definitely a creepy feeling. I'm not living in fear from it. I'm just being careful," says Daneu.
Over the weekend Kathleen Smith's 2000 Hyundai Sonata was found abandoned in a remote area of Hancock some 60 miles from her home. Police say it was found on a routine patrol by forest rangers. The car has a dent near the rear license plate and a dove sticker in the back window. Police are asking anyone who may have seen the car over the weekend to call them.
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