ALBION, N.Y. (WIVB) - Grief counselors have been talking to students in Albion touched by the shocking death of Katherine Sanchez. Loved ones have been questioning the handling of this case.
There are many questions surrounding the death of 15-year-old Katherine Sanchez, but the one that won't seem to go away: why did authorities wait so long to ask for the public's help finding Katherine, when she was missing for more than a month?
Albion school officials opened the doors at the high school for students needing help to meet with grief counselors, or just talk to each other, about the murder of Katherine Sanchez, a popular, well-loved sophomore at D'Amico High.
Principal Leslie Stauss said, "They just want to be with somebody to reminisce, to go back through some memories, and how do they deal with something so horrific."
Stauss said Katherine Sanchez was an outstanding student, athlete, and leader who spent hours after school helping out.
"Anybody she could touch their heart and be involved in their life, she would do that. Her love was education, she wanted to be a teacher, she made no qualms about that," said Stauss.
Katherine was missing for more than a month and school officials said that students and teachers could sense there was something terribly wrong. Katherine was last seen alive on January 14th, babysitting for her sister Kimberly and brother-in-law, Carlos Cardenas. Police say Cardenas killed the teenager and buried her in a shallow grave in an apple orchard where he worked in the town of Ridgeway. Family members told News 4 Cardenas raped Katherine and killed her after she told Cardenas she was going to tell her sister.
Kimberly Cardenas said, "He is just one psycho, psycho man that I never knew that side."
But family members are still asking why, when they reported Katherine missing back on January 14th, police did not even ask for the public's help until last week after they say Cardenas had already confessed.
Katherine's aunt, Aster Martinez, said, "Her mother, Rosa, says that she told them about the blood in the basement and they completely ignored her."
But police insist they have been working on Katherine's disappearance from day one.
Albion Police Chief Dean London said, "We were in the middle of investigating and trying to locate her and at that time, when we put the information out, we were trying to obtain more information."
Now a community is trying to understand how someone so young and vibrant could so suddenly and violently be taken away.
Albion Schools Superintendent Mike Bonnewell said, "A classmate, teammate, club partner. It's just as tough for adults. Teachers have lost a student that they thought a great deal of."
Authorities say Carlos Cardenas, a Mexican national, is in this country illegally and was taken into custody two weeks ago. He is charged with second degree murder and is being held without bail until his next court appearance on Thursday afternoon.
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