ELLINGTON – Nearly a year and still no answers about who killed Connie Dabate, but her friends say they want her to be remembered for who she was as a person, not the crime that killed her. That’s why they held a candelight vigil in her honor on the day before the one-year anniversary of her murder.
On Thursday, more than 100 people gathered to keep her memory alive. Her two best friends since high school, Kim Phillips and Liz Sprague, organized the event for the community.
“Connie always liked when we had reunions she called them 'mini reunions' and we had all our friends come together, and so were hoping that this is a way to honor her,” Phillips said. “We really want people to see how beautiful of a person she was, how much her friends supported her and just to celebrate the life that she had."
The vigil was held at Arbor Park on Main Street, the place Phillips and Dabate would meet to go on weekly morning runs.
Phillips said she was more than a friend, calling her a sister.
Neighbors also spoke at the vigil about how she was the glue to the people who lived on Birchview Drive.
“We will miss her warm smile, kind heart, her genuine love for her family, and our families,” a neighbor said. “This past year we grieve together when you left us too soon.”
Those who spoke described her as a caring and beautiful person, both inside and out, with an infectious personality.
“She was just a true angel,” Phillips said.
At the vigil, her friends played a voicemail of Connie singing the song, “Tomorrow,” which brought people to tears.
While Connecticut State Police continue to investigate who took her life, loved ones wait for answers.
“I don't think it will ever bring closure to family and friends cause well never have her back,” Phillips said.
At the vigil, bracelets were sold for $2 that say, “Connie Strong.” The money will go towards a college fund for Dabate's two young sons.
If you couldn't attend but would like to donate to the children's college fund, you can mail checks made out to "Dabate Children's College Fund" to:
1645 Ellington Rd
South Windsor, CT 06074