WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Outside of the home where Polk County court documents claim torture, pain and a murder occurred, a warm embrace pierced the West Des Moines night. "She didn't have love and support in her home and we all came out here and stood for an hour in the freezing cold with our hearts filled with love," said former classmate of Natalie Finn, Kate Raridon.
Dozens of classmates of Natalie Finn, the 16 year old authorities believe was intentionally killed by her mother Nicole who also deprived their 3 other children of food and clothing, gathered for a vigil which became an open request for forgiveness. Many believe they did not understanding subtle hints they now believe could have been cries for help. Kate said, "We were in P.E. together and she stole my friends shoes. I caught her and asked why did you steal her shoes? She said, 'Because I don't have shoes." Ross Fix, another former classmate said, "We all needed to help her instead of criticize her and say don't do this you are stealing, don't be that person."
Candle lights formed a cross in the sidewalk and students took turns giving the support they felt they had not in the past. "We are so aware now and we are connecting the dots," said Kate. "I was asking for forgiveness for not being a good friend and not being a good Christian and looking out for my neighbors," said former classmate Mary Scout Coleduvall.
On the Finn family lawn sits a neighborhood watch sign. While the community was busy focusing on outside threats coming in, they had no clue of the crimes being committed within the home. "In West Des Moines, in a decent, nice town like this that it still exists," said Ross.
Natalie's name is derived from the Latin word "Natalia," meaning Christmas day. In her unfortunate death, Kate and her classmates felt she gave one last gift. "We are all going to go home tonight and tell our parents thank you so much for everything you do. Even if it's just feeding us."