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12-year-old girl stabbed to death by brother remembered by teachers and coaches as joyful, compassionate

Mikaela Porter, The Hartford Courant on

Published in News & Features

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Tuesday would have been Brigid Curtin's 13th birthday.

Instead of celebrating at Sedgwick Middle School with a decorated locker and notes of joy, students remembered Brigid by wearing blue and yellow shirts, blue soccer paint under their eyes or blue hearts drawn on their hands, and by wearing mismatched sneakers or socks. Hugs, high-fives and kind acts circulated about the school. And around town, Brigid is also remembered with displays of white ribbons on front yards and pinned to winter coats.

"She was always smiling, always happy and when I say joyful, I mean that she found joy in everything and she found joy in someone else's joy," Brigid's sixth-grade teacher, Tom Lucey, said. "She was unbelievable that one, she really was terrific, just joyful. ... Like, dictionary -- joyful, picture of Brigie."

On Dec. 17, police said Brigid was killed after her twin brother stabbed her at their home on Stoner Drive. Her mother, Janemarie Murphy, was severely wounded in the attack, but is expected to survive. Police said they responded to a call at 187 Stoner Dr. in which a woman said she "and her daughter had been stabbed by her son." A motive for the attack remains unknown. The boy, who police have not identified, faces one count of murder and one count of first-degree assault.

Remembered as a happy-go-lucky, thoughtful, compassionate and always smiling 12-year-old, Brigid, or Brigie, was described this week as someone who effortlessly navigated her young life, showcasing kindness as though it was second nature to her.

On Saturday, a funeral is scheduled at 2 p.m. at the family's church, St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford. There will not be calling hours and burial will be private. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, that a donation be made to "The Westmoor Park Fund" in Brigid's name.

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Matt Kalinowski, a longtime counselor, instructor and naturalist at Westmoor Park, described Brigid as a girl who wasn't afraid to get messy, motivating her fellow campers to get the dirty work -- like cleaning farm stalls -- done early so they could have fun later. She wanted to be a counselor-in-training when she was old enough.

"She was just one of those people that never let anything get to her," Kalinowski said. "If anything happened she would brush it off and remove herself from the situation. ... We kinda called her like the mom of the group."

The family, through the Feast on the Farm annual fundraiser dinner, had auctioned and won the naming rights for four animals -- two sheep named Kelly and Mairsy-Doats, and two goats, named after the twins.

Brigid's love for Westmoor Park was contagious, and she convinced her best friend to go to summer camp there, too, according to her best friend's mother, Jennifer Bertagna.

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