Samohi Honor Student Killed At Party

By James Allardice, Mirror staff writer

Suspect Mysteriously Dies During Police Questioning

A popular Santa Monica High School sophomore was stabbed and killed at a party she attended in Westwood on Saturday night.

Fifteen-year-old Deanna Maran died early Sunday morning after an altercation at the party.

According to West Los Angeles police, Maran was involved in several arguments at the party and was fatally wounded after being stabbed by another teenage girl.

According to police, Maran was first involved in an argument at 10:30 p.m. at a party in the 900 block of Thayer Avenue. LAPD Officer Jason Lee said friends broke up the dispute, but shortly Maran became involved in an argument with another individual.

During the altercation, police say, Maran was stabbed. According to police, Maran went into full cardiac arrest as friends were taking her to the hospital at approximately 11:45 p.m. She was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m.

On Sunday, police arrested two teenagers, including Katrina Sarkissian, in connection with Maran’s death. While police were questioning Sarkissian, she collapsed and was taken to UCLA Westwood Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 5:24 p.m. Sunday. She was 17 years old and did not attend Santa Monica High School. The cause of her death has yet to be determined.

Maran was an honor student and top Samohi athlete. She ran track, played on the Samohi volleyball and water polo teams. She was also active in the school’s music program.

SMMUSD Superintendent John Deasy told the Mirror, “This is a very tragic death and it is affecting so many students, faculty, parents, everyone in our community. Deanna, as a student, was very involved. From everything I’ve been told she was very well liked by all her teachers, they enjoyed having her in class and she was involved in activities outside of class. She was very involved in athletics, participating in three sports, and took a rigorous class-load.”

Deasy said the school responded quickly to news of Maran’s death. The crisis response team was in place Sunday afternoon and has been at the school all week. Additionally, Samohi has had 20 additional counselors at the school. “The school has handled this as well as could be expected,” Deasy said. “They have responded with a lot of character. This was such a violent loss.”

LAPD investigations into both deaths are ongoing.

Memorial Held For Deanna Maran

By Amir Soofi, Mirror contributing writer

Hundreds Gather in Greek Theater

The Santa Monica community gathered Monday afternoon at Santa Monica High School’s Greek Theater to mourn thse loss and celebrate the life of 15-year-old sophomore, Deanna Maran, who died of a fatal stab wound to the heart at a party in West Los Angeles early Sunday morning, November 18.

The Greek, erected in 1921 as the Memorial Open Air Theater in honor of fallen alumni in World War I, served Monday not only as place of remembrance but as a place to preach what has become Deanna’s last testament -non-violence.

After the Samohi band opened with “Amazing Grace,” Deanna’s oldest sister, Amika, set the tone for the memorial by posing a question to the attendees: “What does it mean for a society to commit to non-violence?” Irene Vatjaranuruk, close friend to Deanna, representing the Samohi sophomore class, shared her sympathy and condolences with the Maran family and vowed her commitment to “non-violence, the principle that violence is never the answer.” She asked her classmates to be strong and said that one consequence of Deanna’s death could be a fundamental positive change in their lives: “Let us go forward from this day dedicated to taking care of each other,” she said, “with a heightened awareness of how fragile life is, and how much we need each other.”

The extent to which Deanna’s life touched others’ was obvious throughout the memorial. Samohi English teacher Anoushka Franke, shared her memories: “Deanna had an unassuming confidence, an aura of optimism, that made people want to be around her. Because when people were around her, things felt safe, things felt funnier and more adventurous, and people felt good about themselves.” She also advised people to be conscious of their feelings and reactions. “Beware of guilt,” she warned. “Guilt turns into pain, pain turns into hate, and hate turns to violence and self-destruction.”

The volleyball team, one of the three competitive teams of which Deanna was a member, presented the family with a ball signed by the team and announced that the team would retire her jersey as a tribute to her strength, love, and team spirit. “Our volleyball program has been truly blessed to have her as part of our family,” said teammate Iris Early. “She truly represented what being a part of a team and being a part of a family are all about.”

The water polo team followed, focusing on her “aura of warmth.” Her fellow teammates cried as the presenter remembered Deanna. “She contained the perfect amount of every human ingredient: attitude, intellect, humor, soul, love, passion, joy – and the finishing touch,” she said, using a nickname familiar to Deanna’s friends and family, “Lala’s extraordinary charisma.”

As the afternoon service continued, more memories were shared. “She has the ability to help lost souls find the right mind and create an identity,” said friend Ashley Lagarde. “Life is too short to have so much hate,” warned another friend, Lucy Suarez, adding, “Lala died in a time of hate. We have to start loving each other.” A representative from John Adams Middle School (JAMS) shared her memories of all the Maran girls, and discussed JAMS commitment to “KRR – Kindness, Respect, and Responsibility.” Kiyoshi Houston reflected on her days with Deanna on the school choir, “She loved life and made other people love it too.”

“I knew we’d be friends forever,” close friend Tim Livingston told the crowd, “but why did forever have to be yesterday?” Livingston held Deanna in her last moments and spoke of the experience in a poem he read at the service: “...Then I recall when I carried you to the car, your blood covered my arm,” he cried, “Who in their right mind would ever do you any harm?” Another friend, Elisa Herrmann also shared a poem, “Your heart was stabbed once, ours was stabbed twice, your blood stained our clothes, our stained hearts breath.”

In addition to paticipating in volleyball, water polo, and choir, Deanna maintained a straight-A average, ran track, and worked as a hostess at the Firehouse Restaurant.

Most in attendance lost their composure during the last segment of the memorial — a slide show prepared by sister Bianca. The presentation included pictures from babyhood with family, to childhood in the line of Santa Monica schools the entire Maran family has attended, to teenage life on the many teams, groups, and clubs Deanna joined. The images told the story of a life too short, but a life well-lived.

Deanna Maran is survived by parents Ilja and Nining Maran, sisters Amika, Bianca, and Claudia, and brother Ilja.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to The Deanna Maran Memorial Scholarship for Non-violence, Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405.

More Photos:

Police Have No New Information

Published Nov 28, 2001.

A week and a half after the murder of Deanna Maran and the death of Katrina Sarkissian, who allegedly killed her, police have no new developments, according to the Jack Richter of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Maran, a sophomore at Santa Monica High School, died after being stabbed at a party in Westwood on November 17. Sarkissian and a 15-year old girl, said to be her younger sister, were arrested the following day, Sunday, and taken into custody. Sarkissian collapsed and lost consciousness while being questioned by police and was pronounced dead at 5:26 p.m. that afternoon.

According to Richter, police do not know the reason for Sarkissian’s death. “We are still waiting for the coroner’s report,” he said Tuesday.




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