Teens honor murdered teammate, friend with candlelight vigil

By Adrienne Moore, Weekend anchor, reporter, amoore@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 10:14:53 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 10 2014 02:34:51 AM EDT

VIDEO: Teenagers gathered at the Mandarin High School track to celebrate the life with a vigil for their teammate and friend. Denise Rickman and her mother Judith Henry were found dead inside their home and the crime remains unsolved.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A heartbroken group of teens held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to honor a promising young student-athlete, who was found murdered alongside her mother last month.

Denise Rickman, 17, and 41-year-old Judith Henry were found dead inside their home on South Shady Pine Street. Their killer has not been caught.

Denise was a sprinter at Mandarin High School and her home away from home was the track. She lived on the Westside and her high school friends held the vigil at the track at Jefferson Davis Middle School.

More than 100 people turned out, and they prayed as they walked Denise's race route with love in their hearts and justice on their minds.

“Her favorite color was pink, so we told everyone to wear pink to celebrate her,” said Ronnesha Campbell, Denise's best friend.

The track is where Denise found strength and stride in life, her friends said.

“(I want to keep her legacy alive) just by being the best person you know that you can be,” said Denise's friend Anthony Robinson. “Just so you can pay respects to her and her mother.”

With candles and balloons held high, her friends gathered for a vigil with a message centered around family.

“Keep family in your life,” said Lorraine James. “If you haven’t talked to your momma or your daddy, your sister or your brother, pick up the phone. Because you never know when it’s our last time.”

Denise was a senior at Mandarin with a penchant for curry chicken and dancing, her friends said. She recently went to the prom with track teammate Lonnie Lewis (pictured).

“It was amazing. It was fun,” Lewis recalled. “We just had a great time out and danced and ate and went out to dinner -- Red Lobster -- and she got anything she wanted.”

With the murders still unsolved, Denise's friends said they won't give up until the person responsible is found.

“I just want to know who did it,” Campbell said. “I mean, I don’t want to know why he did it, I just want to know who did it. I just want to know what happened.”

Anyone with information relating to these murders is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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