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Alayna Nicole Ortiz

Age 18

Griffith, Indiana

Careful eyeliner. Sister. First best friend.

Her eyeliner was applied neatly, a winged tip framing each eye in a gentle curve. When she smiled, the dimple on her left cheek was slightly more prominent than the right.

Although they didn’t always get along, her sister described as her “first best friend… [someone who] loves people so deeply and with their entire heart.”

Alayna Nicole Ortiz, 18, was fatally shot in the back of her head in an attempted robbery on Jan. 9, 2019 in Griffith, Indiana. She died at the hospital. “I have lost one of the most important people in my life,” her sister mourned.

By Chelsea Camp · Age 15
Meet the Reporters

More than 200 friends

Saniyah Monee Nicholson

Funny faces and pigtails no longer

Tyrese A. Jones

He was beloved at his school


Shot while walking down the street

Kameron Johnson

He dreamed of college and cars

Kameron Porter

Domestic violence ends a stepson’s life

Jacob Matthew Edwards

A survivor, full of heart. Gone.

Corey Donald II

He had just started barber school

Floyd Chianti Davenport IV

“Baba stay woke...Baba stay woke!”

Kelvion’te A. Trammell

Engine still running, no life left

Clinton Howell

A daily trip that turned deadly

Jayvone J. Shackelford-Bishop

Friends together like Lilo & Stitch

Joel Keshon Green

An interrupted trail of Facebook photos

Fernando Perez

“What is it going to take?”

Delametric Djuan Fairley

Never got to make travel plans

Moltere Charles Jr.

#TGFAD — Thank God for another day

Oliver Santos

Big smile stolen on Saturday night

Darryl Lamar Johnson

A family visit. He never left.

Xavier Montrail Thomas

Candles flicker against darkness for Zay

Samuel Ozuna

Always respectful, loved by his friends

Romane D. Taylor Jr.

Intelligent and playful, beloved by buddies