Family holds vigil for slain Elkhart teen

ELKHART, Ind -- Family and friends held a vigil for the 17-year-old Elkhart teen found stabbed to death over the weekend.

The night was full of tears and tight hugs but it was also full of laughter.

Tiana Alter’s family said they just want people to remember her as the happy girl she was.

The night started with a prayer. Family, friends, and members of the Elkhart community stood together, to remember the happy 17-year-old girl, who loved life and touched so many people.

“I really appreciate how many people loved her," said Nellie Stacker, Tiana’s mother.

Tiana was found stabbed to death over the weekend.

Police believe her boyfriend is to blame.

26-year-old Michael T. Shoun has been charged with her murder.

Tiana’s mom and entire family said it is faith and Tiana’s spirit that is getting them through this tough time.

“Everyone keeps saying how strong I am and they're surprised how strong I am but its Tiana that does that because she’s so happy. I just want everyone to be happy when they think of her and not sad.”

But tears were shed.

Tiana’s aunt and uncle said it is hard to have closure with so many questions left unanswered.

“Unanswered questions. The family has to wait in anticipation to find out all the details of what happened. And I’ve been told now, he’s not even able to speak or focus on what’s happening because he can’t even talk. Because he’s so out of it or whatever.”

But they said they get comfort in knowing she’s safe now and in a much better place than here.

“I’m glad everyone got to know Tiana and how beautiful she is. And I’m glad I got to share her with you,” said Stacker.

The family is collecting donations to help cover funeral costs. Currently, they are short $1300.

Anyone can make a donation to Walley Mills Zimmerman funeral home. A public viewing will take place this Saturday at 11 a.m.

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