|Birth: ||Aug. 7, 1987|
|Death: ||Aug. 22, 1995|
Girl remembered as sweet jokester.
Wednesday, August 23, 1995 12:00 AM CDT
By Times Staff Report
Pat Paulsen, mother of Sarah Lynn Paulsen, 8, is surrounded by a family member (upper right), Porter County Deputy Coroner John Evans (back left) and two Portage police detectives near the wooded area where her daughter was found dead Tuesday afternoon. The wooded area is near Central Avenue and Blake Road.
PORTAGE - Laura Hodges shook as she talked about the sweet little blond-haired girl she used to baby-sit.
"I had just talked to her before it was reported she was dead," said Laura,
a 12-year-old friend and neighbor of Sarah Lynn Paulsen.
Paulsen's partially-clothed body was found Tuesday afternoon in a wooded area about 100 yards behind a residential neighborhood, just down the street from her Portage home.
"I talked to her and she said she wanted to come over, but I said no because we were leaving," said Laura, crying. "I told her to come over tomorrow when I wasn't doing anything."
Laura recalled the little girl as a "jokester, cute and excited about everything," including getting her hair cut soon and starting second grade at Aylesworth Elementary School in Portage.
School officials remember Sarah, 8, as a good student. "She was a good kid that played with everybody," said Aylesworth Principal Ken Ingram.
He added that Aylesworth officials will meet this morning to coordinate staffing at the school to help Sarah's fellow pupils deal with her death.
Meanwhile, neighbors and friends struggle to deal with the tragedy.
Laura Hodges said Sarah was "fast and strong" and would "never in a million years go back there" to the wooded area where her body was found.
Another neighbor, Marjey Austin, 15, described Sarah as shy. "She's not the type of girl (who) would just walk up to somebody and start talking."
Laura said she was probably the last person to see the girl alive. The two spoke about 10:30 a.m.
Sarah's brother, Daniel, a fourth-grader at Aylesworth, said he was swimming at a friend's house when his sister was last seen playing with friends.
"Every day she would go outside and play with her friends around 9:30," said Daniel.
Recent events have set the quiet neighborhood on edge.
Doris Green described an incident Wednesday evening in which her 10-year-old daughter, Kimberly, was followed home by a man driving an old, black, rusted pickup truck with a cracked windshield.
Green said Kimberly ran into the house and the man, described as having
shoulder-length dark hair and a beard, circled the house. Green said she called the police, but no arrest has been made.
"I used to think my parents were over-protective," Laura said. "But I don't think that anymore."
Mourners say good-bye to Sarah.
Saturday, August 26, 1995 12:00 AM CDT
By ROSANNE TOLIN
PORTAGE - Never before has this community so desperately needed faith.
The news of 8-year-old Sarah Lynn Paulsen's slaying will haunt her peaceful Portage neighborhood for months. No amount of reason will resolve the spiritual issues faced by her family and friends.
More than 400 mourners - wearing pink ribbons close to their hearts - filled the Central Avenue Church of God sanctuary, lining its long walls and
crowding the foyer Friday for Sarah's funeral.
They prayed silently, seeking catharsis for pain they tried to hide behind dark sunglasses.
Some were strangers of the girl, senior citizens who remembered a different world. Others were cousins, aunts and young friends, who never dreamed this day would come so soon.
Before the service began, a thick silence hovered over the gathering. Then, a soulful "Jesus Loves Me" broke the stillness.
Listeners, immersed in tears, nodded their heads and swayed.
"It's inconceivable how this could happen," said one elderly man seated in the rear of the sanctuary, echoing the sentiments of everyone present.
Plot: Section O Row 2
Created by: Kathy in NW Indiana
Record added: Aug 08, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 15189884