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At Lauren Daverin wake, hundreds pay respects to teen killed on footbridge

Friends and family gather Monday night at Vernon C. Wagner funeral home in Hicksville to remember 18-year-old Lauren Daverin. Videojournalist: Jessica Rotkiewicz (August 26, 2013)

Family and friends of the young Lynbrook woman found strangled on a Rockville Centre footbridge last week paid tribute to her Monday night, saying "justice will be taken care of" for the person who killed the "lovable" and "upbeat" teenager.

Hundreds of mourners stopped by the Vernon C. Wagner Funeral Home in Hicksville on Monday to bid farewell to Lauren Daverin, 18, whose bloodied body was found Thursday night on the Mill Pond footbridge spanning eastbound Merrick Road in Rockville Centre, Nassau County police said. Police said Daverin died of strangulation.

Daverin's family has declined to speak publicly, but friends and relatives had plenty to say about the vivacious newlywed who touched many lives.

"She was just a great person," said Breanna Navarra, 17, of Oceanside, who said she had known Daverin for six years and used to be her best friend. "She was really upbeat. She was always lovable. I mean, she never really had enemies, so it breaks my heart that something like this could happen to her."

Debbie Navarra, Breanna's mother, said of Daverin's death: "It's a loss. It's a disgrace. Very heartbreaking to have something like this happen."

She added, though: "Justice will be taken care of in Lauren's name. . . . All the kids will heal from this and I just hope that, you know, everybody's here to be strong for the family and be very supportive for everybody."

Betsy Benedith, who spent time getting to know Daverin for two years as an assistant principal at Malverne schools, said, "To know her was to love her." Her voice cracking, she added, "I'm hurt."

Christina Mansueto, 18, of Oceanside, said she had known Daverin for two years, recalling her friend as "mad funny" and said: "She was really nice. She got along with everybody."

Charged with second-degree murder in Daverin's death is Maxwell T. Sherman, 18, of Long Beach, who remained jailed in Nassau County.

The wake continues at the Vernon C. Wagner Funeral Home in Hicksville Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Burial is Wednesday at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.

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