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At Andrea Rebello wake, grief combines with anger

Family and friends attend the wake for Andrea

Family and friends attend the wake for Andrea Rebello at Coffey Funeral Home in Tarrytown. (May 21, 2013) Credit: Xavier Mascarenas

Friends and family of Andrea Rebello, the 21-year-old Hofstra University junior killed Friday in a home invasion, came to remember her Tuesday at a wake in her hometown of Tarrytown, where grief mixed with anger and frustration.

Outside the Coffey Funeral Home, Rebello's friends blamed Dalton Smith, the ex-con and parole violator who took Rebello, her twin sister and two others hostage.

Smith "should have been behind bars," said Matthew Holowko, a Hofstra student from Paramus, N.J., who said he'd been friends with Rebello for three years. "It's absurd that this man was on the streets."

Inside the funeral home, where Rebello's family arrived in a black limousine, one mourner said Nella Freitas Rebello, Andrea's mother, was "inconsolable" and could not stay in the room during the viewing.

Earlier in the morning, a delivery van dropped off a large basket of colorful flowers at the Rebellos' Tarrytown home as the family prepared for the wake.

A handful of visitors came to the tan-and-brown split ranch house nestled among trees, carrying coffee and photographs of Andrea. They wore somber expressions and would not speak with reporters.

In the afternoon, Carol Conklin-Spillane, principal of Sleepy Hollow High School, paid her respects. She said her thoughts were with Rebello's twin sister, Jessica, who escaped the residence seconds before the fatal gunshots.

The girls were inseparable," Conklin-Spillane said. "I cannot fathom what Jessica will do."

The family, which released a statement earlier, did not speak to reporters Tuesday, and media were barred from entering the funeral home.

"It's a shame this happened," said Roger Bank, who lives across the street from the Rebello family.

Rebello, who was majoring in public relations, was "pleasant, quiet, respectful," said Tony Baxter, who was Rebello's English teacher at Sleepy Hollow High School.

"These kids are the salt of the earth," Baxter said, describing Rebello and her sister.

Rebello's relatives and friends will say their final goodbyes at a funeral Mass Wednesday morning.

The funeral is at 10 a.m. in St. Teresa of Avila Church, Sleepy Hollow. The Rev. Osvaldo Franklin of Our Lady of Fatima in Yonkers, a close family friend, will lead the service.

With Igor Kossov, D.Z. Stone and Nik Bonopartis

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