A murder victim’s fundraiser to help solve her case turns into a celebration after police arrest a suspect two days before her money raising event.
17-year-old Kayla Ferrante was shot and killed on May 26th, 2012, one day after her high school graduation. Police suspect is was a gang related shooting and a case of mistaken identity. Ferrante and her boyfriend, Neikko Perez, were driving a car that looked like another gang member’s car. That’s when the accused, 24-year-old Edwin Daniels, allegedly starting firing an AK-47 gun and shot Kayla while she as in the passenger seat of the car. Daniels was arrested on Thursday- exactly two months after Ferrante died.
A fundraiser had been planned a few weeks ago to help raise the reward for a tip leading to an arrest in Ferrante’s case. It was planned for Saturday but police announced their arrest of Daniels on Friday. So instead of cancelling the fundraiser the family and friends decided to keep it going and the money raised will go to Ferrante’s passion, helping special needs children at Tulsa Memorial High School.
“It takes a special passion and a special heart for working with these kids, and we saw that develop in Kayla over the last school year,” said Ferrante’s mother, Roxanne Thorton.
“If we could have done anything for her, this would have been it,” said Ferrante’s friend, Chris Swain.
Many people were wearing blue and passing out blue carnations. That was her favorite color. Some people, including her mother had pieces of their hair colored green and purple in honor of Ferrante.
“She had decided she wanted this purple and turquoise in her hair and when they laid together it looked blue in her hair,” said Thorton. “She begged and begged to do it before her graduation and I was like ‘no I don't want that in your graduation pictures,’ and in the end I relented.”
The fundraiser was a car and motorcycle show. It also included a raffle. Winning tickets would receive gift cards from local businesses. Dozens of businesses sponsored the event. The winners of the car and motorcycle show would win special blue plaques with Kayla’s picture on them.
“We got people who rolled in from Oklahoma city just to support Kayla,” said Thorton.
The family also organized a garage sale in early July that raised $7,000 and that money will also go toward the Special Needs Program at Tulsa Memorial High School.