HAMMOND, La. – Family and friends of Jaren Lockhart gathered to say a final farewell to the 22-year-old who was gruesomely killed three weeks ago – her dismembered body discovered on Mississippi beaches.
Emotions were running understandably high at a service that Jaren’s family preferred to call a celebration of her life.
“She loved dance, music, art, anything that was fun,” recalled Christa Bourque, a friend. “She embraced it with everything in her being.”
Dozens showed up to the Brandon Thompson funeral home to show Jaren Lockhart exactly that – love. Bourque was decked out in hot pink and black, the 22-year-old’s favorite colors.
Bourque said Jaren’s brother Lance wore the same colors. “She’s the one who dressed us,” said Bourque of Jaren.
Friends and family say Jaren loved being a mother, writing, dreaming of being a hairdresser and dancing. Originally from Albany, Lockhart was living and working in New Orleans as a dancer on Bourbon Street. Her elementary school drill team teacher, Catherine McCrea, stopped by to offer condolences.
“She was a very sweet child, a very smart child,” said McCrea. “I hate that this happened to her. I pray that God, that her family gets some closure.”
Lockhart was killed earlier this month. Body parts began to wash up on several Mississippi beaches days after she was reported as missing. Two people – Margaret Sanchez and Terry Speaks are considered suspects in her murder, but they have not been officially charged.
Those who came to say a final good-bye Wednesday wanted Lockhart to be remembered, not by how she died, but by who she was.
“She loved life,” said Bourque. “She was the most energetic person. She’d give a person the shirt off her back.”