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Hundreds gather for candlelight vigil to remember 18-year-old killed in crash

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- A sign outside Lincoln K-8 Choice School in south east Rochester reads "Forever loved forever remembered."

On that corner outside the school, is now filled with flowers, balloons and mementos, where 18-year-old Erika Cruz was killed in a car crash Tuesday night.

Sunday, the memorial on the corner of 8th Avenue SE and 12th Street SE was filled with hundreds of people, to mourn and honor Cruz's life.

Friends, family and community members -- from children to adults -- gathered to pay their respects. Some traveling all the way from California.

"Erika was a sister to me. She was literally my best friend. The person I would go to for when I needed something, when I needed advice," Cruz's friend, Ivana Sparza said. "She was the most intelligent, passionate, motivated, inspiring person I've ever met."

Cruz's friends say that while she may be gone physically, she isn't gone spiritually.

"She'll forever live within me. She will always have a special place in my heart. I will never forget about her. I just want to make her proud. We're going to make her proud, I know that. I know she's already proud," Cruz's friend Karina Sparza said. "She's here right now. I know she's here. She's never going to leave me."

Cruz's family says the community support and outreach has been amazing.

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