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Sep 1, 2016 10:51 PM

One year after murder, vigil and candlelit walk held for Denise Robert

MANCHESTER — More than a hundred people gathered in the very neighborhood Denise Robert regularly walked in before she was killed for a vigil to honor her memory.

The vigil was held at a tree dedicated to Robert on the grounds of the Brookside Congregational Church on Elm Street in Manchester. Her family, friends, and fellow community members gathered on the church grounds to remember her life.

"She was very energetic, very loving and compassionate," said Joann Levesque, Robert's former coworker. "She fits every word there is. Hopefully we find hope and justice."

Several local groups contributed to organizing the vigil, including the North of Webster Community Group, the New Hampshire NewsGuild Local 31167, and the Manchester Police Department.

Many members of Robert's family, including her mother, were also in attendance for the ceremony. They thanked the community for the outpouring of support they've received as the investigation into Robert's death continued.

Robert was shot and killed on August 30, 2015 while she was taking her routine walk through the North End neighborhood. Though the Manchester Police Department and the FBI have been investigating the case, no tips have been deemed credible and leads have not led to a suspect. The only description of the suspect is a white man driving a dark or rust colored truck.

Still, those who planned the vigil did so in the hopes that the community would continue searching for answers and believe the case will be solved.

"I'm of the faith that the case will be solved eventually," said Daniel Berube, captain of the North of Webster Community Group. "Hopefully new information will come out. Memories might be jogged. The conversation about it continues."

Berube said he has full confidence in the police department and their efforts on the case so far.

During the vigil, Police Chief Nick Willard thanked the community and the Robert family for their support.

"I can assure you, there will be justice," he said. "We are grateful that you have not given up on us, and it was very important for us to be here today."

After the vigil, the Manchester Police Mounted Unit led the crowd on a candlelit walk to the spot where Robert was killed. Attendees laid roses on the ground as bagpipes played, "Amazing Grace."

Berube said an important part of healing after an inexplicable tragedy like Robert's death is to participate in events like these as a community.

"In the meantime, it's bringing the community together and to remind ourselves that we are Manchester," he said. "We stand together to remind everyone that we acknowledge that this case has yet to be solved."

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