Family and friends of a slain 14-year-old boy gathered Thursday evening to remember the youth at Snyder Park.
Harley Starling was found dead by his grandmother in his bed at his Springfield home Monday morning. His brother, 16-year-old Nicholas Starling, faces juvenile murder and tampering with evidence charges in connection with his death.
The 14-year-old was beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed with a knife, according to Clark County Juvenile Court records.
People who knew Harley said at the candlelight vigil that he was quiet and kind with a great sense of humor.
“It’s hard to explain how good of a kid he was, but he was,” friend Madison Hutchinson said.
Friends closest to Harley gave a brief speech at the vigil. A group of almost 100 then lit candles as some cried and others hugged each other. Many released balloons with notes written on them to honor the teen. They also signed a shirt and wished Harley’s family well.
During the ceremony, some of Harley’s family members lit candles that were positioned to spell out his name. Candles positioned in the shape of a heart were also lit.
Savannah Marcum, who said she met Harley in middle school, said she will always miss him.
“He’d always made us laugh and smile,” Marcum said.
She said she was surprised when she found out Nicholas Starling had been charged in connection with his brother’s death.
“I thought him and his brother were close, honestly,” Marcum said. “When I found out what really happened, I had no words.”
Clark County Coroner Dr. Richard Marsh said Thursday he couldn’t release a cause of death yet because the case is still under investigation.
Prosecutors have asked the juvenile court to charge Nicholas Starling as an adult. Nicholas Starling is due back in juvenile court on Tuesday.
Many students from Springfield City School District showed their support Thursday night.
Classmate Steven Steier said he remembers Harley as being funny when he did speak. He said the high school has been quiet and students are taking Harley’s death hard.
“He was really quiet, he didn’t really talk that much,” Steier said.
Other classmates said they will remember Harley as a good person who cared for others.
The school district released a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“The Springfield City School District was deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of our student’s yesterday morning at his home,” it says. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Grief counselors began actively supporting students and staff on Monday and will be available as long as necessary. Anyone needing assistance or grief support should contact the Springfield City School District’s Student Services Department at 937-505-2855.”
The family of the Starlings attended the vigil and declined comment through a representative of the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.
Marcum said she’s struggling with Harley’s death but will always remember him.
“We are going to find out when his funeral is and we are going to show our respects for that and then I am going to try to go out at least once a month … and go out to his grave site and have a little get together with his family,” Marcum said.
The Springfield News-Sun first broke the news about the death of a 14-year-old Springfield teen this week and will continue to provide updates on this tragic story.