An Indian Head Park girl slain in her home last fall would have turned 15 years old Monday.
But the family and friends who gathered Monday night didn't do so to remember the tragedy that took Kelli O'Laughlin's life. Instead, they wanted to celebrate the day she came into the world.
"She was an amazing person," said O'Laughlin's friend, Kelsey Corcoran. "I think you can see that from all the people here that were touched by her story and her legacy."
Hundreds of balloons with notes to the teen were released in Sacajawea Park, not far from where O'Laughlin's mother found the girl's body.
O'Laughlin, authorities said, was stabbed to death when she arrived home from school to a burglary in process. A man, John Wilson Jr., has been charged with residential burglary and first-degree murder.
"Bringing the guy that did this to justice was imperative, but at the same time the beauty of this girl was never going to be replaced," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
Family and friends said they eventually hope to plant a tree and install a park bench in the teen's honor.
The mayor of Indian Head Park has declared April 23, "Kelli O'Laughlin Memorial Day."