The public is invited to a graveside memorial service at 5:30 p.m. today for Katrina Cheely, a 15-year-old Wichitan who was murdered in 1984, according to authorities.
The memorial, on the northeast side of Resthaven Cemetery, 11800 W. Kellogg, is being held on the same date — Nov. 16 — that Katrina disappeared 26 years ago. It also will be the first gathering at her grave since her grave marker was installed more than a month ago.
The grave remained unmarked for nearly 26 years, partly because Katrina's family couldn't afford to mark it. It took about five years of effort, including fundraising from Katrina's junior high school friend Dawn Turner Moler, to get the grave marked with an elaborate headstone.
Moler said people who attend the memorial are asked to bring a candle.
Moler, now 40, expects that some of Katrina's classmates will attend. Katrina's family, who lives out of state, will participate in the memorial via satellite.
On Nov. 16, 1984, Katrina disappeared from her home near Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. On Feb. 28, 1985, a can collector found her body in a culvert on 151st Street West.
Authorities said she had been murdered. Authorities charged Martin D. Priest, a friend of Katrina's mother.
Priest was acquitted of murdering Katrina. By that time, Priest was serving a life term for the 1984 murder of William Mayhugh of Wichita.
According to Kansas prison records, Priest is being held at Lansing Correctional Facility. His earliest possible release would be Aug. 1, 2011.