ELYRIA - Although she was murdered 22 years ago, Angel Vincent still lives on in the memories of her friends.
Those memories have stood out more in recent weeks as Darryl Durr, the man convicted of raping, kidnapping and killing Angel, approaches his scheduled execution date on Tuesday.
"It won't bring her back, but as long as we're all thinking about her, her memory will live on," said Dorene Stretar, a friend of Angel's.
Angel disappeared from the Elyria home the 16-year-old shared with her mother and stepfather on Jan. 31, 1988.
Three months later, on April 30, 1988, three boys found her decomposed body stuffed inside two orange traffic barrels in a Cuyahoga County park.
Angel's body wasn't identified until September 1988.
Angel's friends are hoping Durr's execution will help bring some measure of closure to a loss that they continue to feel.
"I'm still healing," said Betsy Dallas, who said Angel's death hit her so hard at the time that she basically dropped out of contact with her other friends while she dealt with her loss. "If it's hurt your heart this long, it's kind of hard to believe there's any closure."
Julie Boschetti described Angel as "bubbly, outgoing and always willing to help somebody."
Boschetti recalls the good times - including a flour fight when the two girls were baking Christmas cookies - that she and her friends had with Angel before she disappeared.
When Angel vanished, it touched off months of speculation that Angel had run away - something Angel's friends said she never would have done.
"Angel was the kind of girl who pretty much had everything she needed or wanted," Boschetti said. "She would have had no reason to run away from home."
But that's the story that Deborah Mullins, a friend who was the mother of Durr's child, told Angel's parents, according to a report prepared by the Ohio Parole Board, which recommended that Gov. Ted Strickland reject clemency for the 46-year-old Durr, who was 24 when Angel was murdered.
"You know how kids are, she probably ran away," Mullins told Angel's mother, Norma Jean Godsey, whose last name at the time was O'Nan, the report said.
The truth, Mullins would later testify during Durr's trial in Cuyahoga County, was far darker.
Mullins testified that she had asked Durr to go and get Angel's cigarettes from Stretar's house and drop them off at Angel's house. Stretar, the friend who Durr was supposed to pick up the cigarettes from, said she never saw him that night.
Mullins testified during the trial that Durr left to get the cigarettes, but when he returned, he was armed with a knife and had Angel bound in the backseat of his car. He threatened both Mullins and their baby with the knife and told her that he planned to "waste" Angel because "she would tell," the report said.
When Durr returned several hours later, Mullins testified, he had a ring and bracelet that belonged to Angel and told her he had strangled Angel with a dog chain, wrapped her body in a blanket, placed it between construction cones and left it by a set of railroad tracks.
Over the next day or so, Mullins testified, she saw Durr dispose of other evidence and he asked her to model the jeans Angel had been wearing.
After Angel's body was found, police connected Durr - who is also serving prison time on unrelated rape charges - to her murder. Durr had a history of violence and, in addition to the two violent rapes he was convicted of, had also stabbed a woman during a fight over $2 worth of gas at the gas station he worked at in 1982.
During his interview with the Parole Board, "Durr stated that he wished to convey his apologies to the victims for their tragic loss," although he continued to maintain he had nothing to do with Angel's death, the clemency report said. Durr also told the Parole Board that he was innocent of the other crimes he was convicted of.
During the Parole Board hearing, Godsey - Angel's mother - told board members that Durr had been obsessed with her daughter and that he did not deserve clemency. She also said during the hearing that she suffers from nightmares about Durr strangling her and is horrified about how her daughter died, the report said.
Boschetti said she too believes Durr deserves to die for what he did to Angel.
"I feel it's time for him to pay up," she said.
Boschetti said although Angel hadn't lived in Elyria very long - she was originally from Texas - she made friends quickly.
She said Angel was a pretty girl, who liked to go roller skating on weekends and watch "Big Chuck and Little John" movies on late night TV.
"She was a loving and kind person," Stretar said. "She loved Elvis. She had this thing for Elvis, she thought he was just the handsomest guy."
Although none of her friends recalled what kind of career Angel had wanted to have, they all said she wanted to get married and have kids.
"If Angel were still alive, she would have found her Elvis and had a couple of kids," Stretar said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or email@example.com.