WINCHESTER — Rose petals, symbolizing the resilience and spiritual journey of the soul of homicide victim Sarah Curran, were scattered in the Timbrook Park garden on Thursday after a memorial for her.
“Just throw them into the wind or into the garden,” Debra McDonald, Curran’s mother, told about 100 people at the service. “See where God takes them. See where Sarah takes them.”
The 22-year-old Curran, who was homeless, was found dead at a homeless encampment behind the 700 block of Baker Lane in Frederick County on July 23, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. Police said Larry Lee Mullenax III, Curran’s ex-boyfriend, confessed to killing her, but they haven’t disclosed a motive. Mullenax, 25 and homeless, was charged with second-degree murder.
Clara Ann Perdue, 36 and homeless, was charged on July 31 with accessory after the fact to second-degree murder. Police said she confessed to helping Mullenax move Curran’s body to conceal it.
The approximately 40-minute service was presided over by the Rev. Dan McCoig, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Winchester, which Curran and her family attended since moving to the city from Hershey, Pennsylvania, in 2010. Prior to the service, he recalled Curran’s outgoing nature and how many people she had befriended in her short life.
“Our hearts are heavy with grief,” McCoig told mourners. “It hurts to live in a world where a 22-year-old woman dies too soon.”
Curran, who had Asperger’s syndrome, bowled, roller-skated and swam in the Special Olympics, and several Special Olympics competitors attended the memorial. They included Vicki McAboy, a close friend since middle school. She recalled the fun times and laughs they shared.
“I am really going to miss Sarah,” McAboy told mourners. “Sarah was a good friend to me.”
McDonald recalled Curran’s independent streak and generosity. At 10, she handed out Pop-Tarts to people at the bus stop. As a young adult, she once spent most of her Social Security disability check on buying people steak dinners at Piccadilly Public House and Restaurant.
McDonald said her daughter could be overly generous and she worried about her being taken advantage of. McDonald previously said Mullenax frequently abused Curran, but there was little she could do to stop it because she no longer had custody of her daughter once she became an adult.
McDonald, who tried to live frugally, said she cautioned her daughter about being too generous and trusting. That led to tension between the two.
“I saw the world one way and she saw it another and we got on each other’s nerves a lot,” she said. “But we loved each other.”
McDonald said she appreciated the many people who have told her since her daughter’s death how much Curran touched their lives. Curran volunteered at CCAP, a local food and clothing pantry. She also volunteered at the Frederick County Esther Boyd Animal Shelter.
McDonald asked the crowd to remember her daughter by following the Christian principles of humility, justice and mercy.
“It is a challenge,” she said. “But who doesn’t love a good challenge now and then?”