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School holds vigil for 2 slain children NA

NAPERVILLE – More than 100 students and parents held a candlelight vigil for a 5-year-old girl who was found stabbed to death along with a 7-year-old boy in suburban Chicago.

The Friday night vigil was held at Brookdale Elementary School in Naperville, where Olivia Dworakowski was a student. The girl was found on a bed and 7-year-old Justin Plackowska on the floor nearby.

The boy’s mother, Elzbieta Plackowska, a 40-year-old Polish immigrant, is charged with first-degree murder. Authorities say she stabbed the children dozens of times as they begged for their lives.

“Sometimes it’s really hard, even if you don’t know the person,” a tearful 10-year-old Isha Bhamani told The Daily Herald. “I heard she’s a really nice girl. Terrible things happen for no reason. There’s a lot of people here, and it feels comforting. And it’s OK to be sad and let out your feelings.”

The gruesome deaths have shaken Naperville, a vibrant, populous suburb 25 miles west of Chicago. Naperville Mayor George Pradel said the tragedy is most difficult because it involves young children.

“We’ve had the title of the best place to raise children,” Pradel said. “To work with our children in our schools and get to know them and love them, and then a tragedy like this happens, and see other children saying why and trying to find out answers – I think that’s probably the toughest.

“We have to be leaders and try to understand that sometimes there isn’t an answer or understanding,” he said.

Those at the vigil lit candles in a meditation garden, listened to prayers and released white and purple balloons in memory of the slain children.

Plackowska is being held without bail in the DuPage County jail.

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Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com

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