INDIANAPOLIS - The family of a slain 15-year-old girl found burned over the weekend spoke out Tuesday, urging everyone to keep an eye on their loved ones, saying tragedy can happen "in the blink of an eye."
The body of Dominique Allen, a freshman at Ben Davis High School, was found badly burned Sunday in the backyard of a home in the 1100 block of Elder Avenue. On Tuesday, the coroner ruled that Allen's death was a result of homicidal asphyxiation.
VIDEO: In the player above, watch the full news conference with Dominique's sisters, her father and an IMPD homicide detective.
Investigators said they believe Allen was killed at an abandoned house at 1923 W. 10th St., where her purse and sandals were later found.
Homicide detective Marcus Kennedy said Allen had no soot in her lungs, indicating she was not alive when her killer or killers lit her on fire.
Kennedy said that Allen's killing is believed to be random.
Allen's sister, Shenika Poindexter, said her sister wasn't doing anything wrong when she was killed.
"Dominique is not the type of kid to get in a car with anybody. She never does anything out of character," Poindexter said. "If it can happen to our sister, it can happen to anybody."
Mareeka Allen, another of the victim's sisters, shared more details about who Dominique was.
"My sister was fun and bubbly. She smiled. She was sweet," Mareeka Allen said. "She was someone who actually had a heart and cared."
Poindexter said her sister "was the type of kid who took up for kids who were being bullied."
Mareeka Allen also described her sister's plans for the future.
"She wanted to be a model," Mareeka Allen said. "She wanted to go to Spellman University. She wanted to move to Atlanta."
Kennedy said investigators have no person of interest in the case.
Poindexter said confidently that the person or people responsible would pay for her sister's death.
"Whatever you do, wherever you go, justice is going to be served," she said. "I don't care whatever IMPD has to do to bring you to justice, I swear to God on your life, you will pay for what you did."
Mareeka Allen expressed an overall weariness of crime in the state.
"This nonsense happening in this world today, especially in Indiana, we want it to stop," she said.
Counselors on hand at Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center
Officials at Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center brought in extra resources to help students cope with Allen's death Tuesday.
The school usually keeps three counselors on staff, but a total of 10 were brought in to meet with students and staff.
District spokeswoman Mary Lang said dozens of students have requested professional help in dealing with their loss.
"There were dozens and dozens of students who felt the need to speak with a counselor today after they received this news. Some of them knew Dominique personally. Others didn't, but her death has certainly had an impact at the Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center," Lang said.
School officials said the counseling resources will be available throughout the school year to any students who need help.