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WHITNEY

Friends remember 14-year-old shooting victim

By Christine McCarthy

WHITNEY- Friends of the 14-year-old Hill County girl who was shot and killed by her father early Tuesday morning are trying to put aside the shooting and focus on their memories of their friend.

Edwin Odell Collins, Jr., 40, remains in Hill County Jail, charged with murder, although he says he accidentally shot his daughter, Judith, while trying to fend off people who were supposedly chasing him on his property near the family store, Collins' Hitching Post at F.M. 933 and F.M. 1713.

In the meantime, Camaron, Yesenia and Brooke, all 14 years old, are remembering their sweet, bubbly friend and bright classmate at Whitney I.S.D.

"She would sing in the middle of lunch," said Camaron. "She would get up and sing if she wanted to. She was just that kind of [person] who just did, and was happy. She was happy."

Camaron had been text messaging with Judith just hours before the shooting. Her mother told her what happened the next day, leaving her in disbelief.

"I tried to call her phone," Camaron said, "and I called people and I texted people, and that's when I - I knew. I watched the news, and I knew."

Camaron contacted Yesenia and Brooke to confirm the news.

"At first I didn't believe it," Yesenia said. "It was really shocking."

Today, Camaron, Yesenia and Brooke are still trying to deal with their loss but hanging on to their fondest memories, including Judith's dream to make it big singing.

"She actually was thinking about going to American Idol and she was asking for everyone to vote for her," Yesenia said. "And of course I said yes."

Judith had just finished middle school at Whitney I.S.D. and was heading into high school, where she would likely continue helping her friends with their math and science homework.

"It's just gonna be really different," Brooke said. "She was always there making everyone happy, just singing and doing what she liked to do."

Judith wanted to be a doctor or, like Camaron, a marine biologist. Camaron is now determined to pursue that goal in honor of her friend.

"She was a good person," Camaron said. "It's kind of hard to know that all of this has happened, so I guess we're just trying to take it day by day."

Whitney I.S.D. classmates will be holding a candelight vigil for Judith at the school football field.

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