Memorial made for slain UNCC student

MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. -- The memorial is simple, a white cross with a flowered wreath attached to it. Its meaning, however, is deep; it marks the spot on which the body of Irina Yarmolenko, 20, was found earlier this month.

"This is a memorial for her and a remembrance and a rest in peace for her and a rest in peace for us," said Brenda Pierce, one of the people who discovered the body of the UNC Charlotte student. "Final closure is going to be when the killer is caught."

Pierce and Dennis Lovelace, who was also there the night Yarmolenko's body was discovered, placed the memorial on the bank of the Catawba River in Mount Holly Sunday afternoon. According to an autopsy, she was suffocated to death.

Pierce and Lovelace said it's the least they can do to help people remember her.

"It's a lot different from finding her laying here and then finding out what a fantastic girl she was," Lovelace said.

"I think it solely represents the light that Irina had," Pierce said, referring to a light attached to the top of the cross. "Her light will shine. As that light shines, her light will shine too, and that's what we're hoping for."

Pierce and Lovelace said they'll return to the spot every year and place flowers on the site.

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