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Slain girl had been 'looking forward to her life'

As the police homicide investigation continues, the parents of 17-year-old Lily Burk, found dead in her car Saturday in downtown L.A., reflect on their daughter's life.

July 27, 2009|Ari B. Bloomekatz and Corina Knoll

As police continued their search Sunday for a suspect in the slaying of 17-year-old Lily Burk, her parents said their daughter's death was tragic proof of how fragile and short life can be.

"The thing we want people to know about Lily is that she was a beautiful person and that she was looking forward to her life. She was funny, warm, kind and empathetic. She was deeply and widely loved," read the statement from Deborah Drooz and Gregory Burk, a Times freelancer who writes about pop music.

Lily Burk was supposed to begin her senior year at Oakwood School in North Hollywood in the fall.

Over the weekend, Burk's classmates and family friends gathered at a Los Angeles home to mourn her death and remember her life. They would not comment publicly other than to characterize the Oakwood school community as close-knit and supportive.

Burk's body was found about 6 a.m. Saturday in the passenger seat of her black Volvo on the fringe of downtown Los Angeles near Alameda and 5th streets. The car was parked in a lot surrounded by warehouses and lofts.

Investigators said it appeared that she died from blunt force trauma and that there were signs of a struggle inside the car. Sgt. Miguel Arana of the Los Angeles Police Department said over the weekend that Burk appeared to have head injuries after apparently striking the windshield. Authorities have been investigating the death as a homicide.

Police said that after Burk left home Friday, she made at least two calls to her parents asking how to get cash from an ATM machine using her credit card.

Burk was set to star in her high school's production of David Mamet's "The Boston Marriage" and planned to volunteer helping the homeless this summer.

Her parents said she left Friday afternoon to pick up exams for her mother, an attorney and an adjunct professor at Southwestern University School of Law on Wilshire Boulevard. She picked up the papers, but more than an hour later, she made separate calls to each of her parents asking about her credit card.

Her father said she seemed in a rush but not frightened, and she indicated that she needed money to buy shoes. Both parents said they told their daughter to come home.

They grew worried when she didn't come back by 5 p.m.

"Lily was looking forward to going to college, to being a writer, to what was ahead," her parents said in the statement. "She had a really bright future and it was cut short. If there is anything that people can take away from this horrible tragedy, it's that life is fragile and that they should live every minute of it fully."

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

corina.knoll@latimes.com

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