ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Family and friends were to begin saying goodbye Monday night to an 18-year-old woman found strangled last week on Long Island.
Just before her wake was held, Lauren Daverin’s family, standing arm in arm, delivered their first public comments since the slaying.
“It rips a hole in your heart that is never going to be filled,” Kathleen Daverin, the victim’s mother, told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “She was way too young to be brutally taken the way she was taken.”
“Lauren was a passionate, independent, proud, honest, spunky and beautiful person,” said Suzanne Caldeira, one of Lauren Daverin’s four sisters.
Daverin’s body, clad in only a pair of boots, was found Thursday night by a footbridge in Rockville Centre. In a chilling twist, 18-year-old Maxwell Sherman — the man charged in connection with Daverin’s death — spoke with Gusoff at the crime scene Friday one day before his arrest.
At the time of the interview, Sherman was not a suspect, but he told Gusoff he was present the night Daverin was found. Police say at some point, Sherman strangled Daverin.
Sherman: I met her for like five minutes.
Gusoff: So you were here with this group that was just hanging out?
Sherman: Around 7 o’clock, yeah.
Gusoff: What was everyone doing?
Gusoff: What was everybody doing? Just hanging?
Sherman: They were chilling by the soccer post or whatever. I just rode by and saw my friend Steve, and got a cigarette from him.
Gusoff: And what’s your reaction to this now?
Sherman: Amazed, kind of. It’s right in the middle of town. Surprised.
Gusoff: And there was nothing going on in the group last night that would suggest somebody was getting hurt?
Sherman: Nah, everybody was just chilling, hanging out.
Hours after the interview, Sherman was charged with the killing.
In his mug shot, there are scratches on Sherman’s face and he is wearing the same shirt as he was when he talked to CBS 2.
Witnesses placed Sherman with Daverin and another couple drinking on the footbridge the night of her killing.
“He wanted to hook up with her,” David Paiz, a friend of Daverin’s, told Gusoff. “He was asking other kids, ‘Do you know if she’s dating anyone?'”
At his arraignment Sunday, Sherman hung his head in court, denying that he killed Daverin. Prosecutors said Sherman is unemployed and lives in a home on Louisiana Street in Long Beach with his parents.
He is being held without bail and is scheduled to be in court on Wednesday.
He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
“I want to make sure this kid goes away for the rest of his life if he is the one responsible for killing my daughter,” Kathleen Daverin said.
Sherman declined CBS 2’s request for an interview Monday.
Neighbors of the alleged killer said he had moved from Rockville Centre to Illinois and only recently returned to Long Beach.
“Parents are over-the-top friendly. Sweetest people. Really nice,” said Jamie Abrams, of Long Beach.
Daverin, a Lynbrook native who would have turned 19 this Saturday, was a newlywed. She had recently moved to Louisiana with her husband who is in the U.S. Air Force. She was on Long Island visiting her mom.
More than 5,000 people joined Daverin’s memorial page online, with many expected to visit the Vernon C. Wagner Funeral Home for her wake. Following a second viewing, Daverin’s funeral will be held at the same location Tuesday night.
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