ST. LOUIS (KMOV)—Police have charged a 17-year-old man after the death of a Vashon High School co-valedictorian was ruled a homicide.
Officers said they responded to a home in the 3700 block of N. 21st Street around 9:45 p.m. Monday and found Sarah Billingsley-Walker, 18, dead.
Officers said they believe she died between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Leonard Antjuan Johnson has been charged with first degree murder.
Authorities initially said there were no obvious signs of trauma to her body, but an autopsy determined she was strangled.
Billingsley-Walker was named this year’s homecoming queen at Vashon. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and a part of the school’s dance team.
Family members have taken the death of such a promising young woman very hard.
“She was the best kid that a person could ever have. She was smart and good and they don’t come no better,” said her father, Ronnie Brown.
Fellow students and teachers agree.
“When you lose a student who’s been at the school for nearly four years, was very involved at the school, that affects the students of course, but it’s very hard on the staff as well,” said St. Louis Public Schools Spokesperson Patrick Wallace.
Counselors were at Vashon on Tuesday to help students deal with their grief.