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Slain Teenager Remembered In Candlelight Vigil

A candlelight vigil was held Thursday night to mark the one year death anniversary of Justice Afoa.

More than 100 people gathered on a cold Thursday evening to share their memories of a teenager whose life was cut short by a murder one year ago that remains unsolved.

Family, friends and loved ones joined together on Cedar Boulevard, surrounding a decorated tree that stands where police found Justice Afoa, then 17, around 3:40 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2010.

Many wore shirts, hats and button pins adorned with Afoa’s photos as they looked somberly down toward numerous candles that remained lit throughout the evening.

Samson Tai, a longtime friend and teammate of Afoa’s, led the crowd in a prayer shortly after 6 p.m. and shared how the former student changed his life.

“This whole year I became able to not take my family for granted because of this,” Tai said. “Show your love. Don’t sit and expect [your family] to know that you love them. Get up and give them that hug.”

Afoa’s friends and family members took turns speaking, remembering him as a friendly, dependable, happy-go-lucky teenager who was a talented football player.

Friends and teammates called him “one of a kind” and unforgettable.

Emotion rose and several wept as one cousin described the pain behind Afoa’s absence and the ongoing frustration resulting from his murder remaining unsolved.

“It hurts. Justice was like my little brother. He was a good kid, and he didn’t deserve to die like that,” she said. “The whole family misses him.”

Suvania Afoa, Justice Afoa’s mother, shared how the past 365 days have been difficult for the Afoa family but expressed gratitude for those who loved her son.

“Thanks for the support for the entire year. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much,” Suvania Afoa said. “It means a lot to me, and my kids, and my family.”

The Afoa family will hold a service in memory of Justice Afoa on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward and a reception will follow at the Newark Pavilion, 6430 Thornton Ave.

Those who knew Justice Afoa are invited to attend Saturday’s services.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Newark98 December 16, 2011 at 10:34 PM
RIP Justice. I didn't know him but I used to see him everyday on his way to school as i was driving my kids to school. So sad when any life is taken but its especially bad when someone so young who was just beginning their life is taken.
declectic December 18, 2011 at 06:05 AM
I didn't know Justice Afoa. Still his death has affected me. Almost daily I drive by the place where he died. He was so young. My sympathy goes to his friends, his family, and his mother. I can't imagine what they're going through. I am appalled that the Newark Police have not yet brought those who murdered young Afoa to justice. I want justice for Justice.
Feia December 18, 2011 at 05:09 PM
I did not know Justice, but his murder has made me sad and angry . It is obvious what a special young man he was. Our community must never forget that this is an unsolved murder, and there must be Justice4Justice.
Nadja Adolf December 20, 2011 at 07:14 AM
Here is the reality; no one really cared about him, except maybe his family and a few friends. There were other people there; but they won't say what they saw because they really don't care. Never did, never will. Empty and hollow selfish people who view the murder of a human being as no more important than swatting a fly.

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