Irina "Ira" Yarmolenko had a sunny spirit, a quick smile and friends everywhere she went. She wasn't supposed to die at age 20. The UNC Charlotte sophomore was found Monday, May 5, 2008 next to her car on the banks of the Catawba River in Mount Holly.
Yarmolenko was born in the Ukraine but grew up in Chapel Hill. Her family moved to North Carolina in the 1990s as refugees and her parents found science jobs in Greensboro and later moved to Chapel Hill.
Ira was a dedicated student who loved to travel and learn about other cultures. She played piano and tennis. "She was incredible," "There's nothing bad about her." She graduated from Chapel Hill High in 2006 and began studying at UNCC. There, she was a member of the Russian Club and more recently, a photographer and occasional writer for the student newspaper. She also worked as a computer assistant.
She had always talked about doing something to help people make their lives better or easier.
"Everything that she's ever done was to help people," She'd planned to transfer to UNC Chapel Hill to major in public health after finishing this semester in Charlotte. She was connected to a lot of organizations on and off campus.
She was a victim of murder.
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