Hundreds remember Nicole Ayres at vigil

DEPTFORD, N.J. - September 15, 2010

As family members cried and tried to console one another, a sea of candles lit the night sky in memory of Nicole Ayres.

A classmate read a poem written about South Jersey's softball star athlete, who played for Deptford High and Fordham University and was due to play for Rutgers in the spring.

Jacquelyn Deak, a life-long friend, was there to remember.

"Every time you'd see her, she was smiling, always smiling and that was the best part of her," Deak said. "If you would have met her once, you would have loved her, nobody hated her."

While friends and families comforted each other, questions still loom over Nicole's death.

Authorities have charged 28-year-old Stephen Headley with her murder. Ayers' body was discovered beaten and stabbed to death in a South Hampton soccer field early Monday. Authorities described Headley as an acquaintance, but her friends weren't sure how she even knew the guy.

"I mean there's a lot of questions that haven't been answered, we want to know why, we want to know why her?" Deak said.

On a softball field tonight, her family and friends gathered around the pitching mound where her uniform number, 75, was drawn on the ground.

The crowd then adorned the number with candles, pictures and other mementos to show their love for Nicole.

Meanwhile, Headley remains hospitalized with a fractured back after he ran into the path of a pickup truck following a heated conversation with his mother and grandmother the night after the murder.

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