Friends gathered Thursday evening near the apartment complex where Scarlett Paxton was stabbed to death the day before for a candlelight memorial to the 19-year-old Kirkland woman they described as beautiful, creative and kind.
“There is really no way to describe her,” said a tearful Cassandra Williams, a friend of Paxton’s who attended Kirkland Junior High with her. “She was so warm and amazing. She was the most beautiful person I ever met. She was so creative.”
“And spontaneous,” added Camille Sturman. “Me and Scarlett and Cassie were really good friends for a long time. We would sit around and talk into the morning. We were like parts of each other. We were inseparable.”
Paxton was slain in the early morning hours Wednesday while returning from a walk to her apartment at the Hidden Firs complex in the 13300 block of 100th Avenue NE in Juanita. Kirkland Police announced Thursday afternoon that they had identified a person of interest in the attack, and that the person was in custody in another city on an unrelated charge.
Thursday evening 30 or more friends and her father stood huddled in the December chill outside a Starbucks store near the apartment, holding candles and describing Paxton and how easily she bonded with people.
“Scarlett did not meet anyone whose life she didn’t touch,” said her father, Ernest Paxton. “This is a parent’s worst nightmare.”
Her father said he can't fathom how anyone could have any motive for harming his daughter.
“Nodody who met Scarlett would harm her,” he said.
With his arm around Scarlett’s boyfriend, 19-year-old Michael Lawson, Ernest Paxton said he was glad the person of interest is in custody.
“As long as this person is behind bars, they won’t be able to harm anyone else.”
Ernest Paxton praised Lawson, who discovered Scarlet and called 911—and who police say has been completely cooperative—as positive force in her life.
“I will always thank Michael for being a part of her life,” he said.
Lawson was mostly at a loss for words, still clearly stunned and in turmoil.
“I can’t really talk,” he said haltingly. “I’m just here to be with Scarlett’s dad." He said being close to Scarlett was “a joy. She made life worth living. She was my everything. She made everyone happy.”
Scarlett Paxton was originally from Ventura, Calif., and attended BEST, an Lake Washington School District alternative high school in Houghton.
According to her Facebook page, she loved music (White Stripes, Bob Marley, Metallica and orchestra), enjoyed reading and politics. Williams said Scarlett loved to draw.
“There won’t be anybody else like her,” said Sturman. “This is like losing a piece of yourself.”
Choking back tears, Williams added: “It’s like losing a family member.”
For details about the on-going investigation by Kirkland Police and the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, see earlier Patch stories here and here.