BALTIMORE - We have been telling and developing Monae Turnage's story all week, but there is something so disturbingly final about the funeral home backdrop of today's narrative; a jolt to the reality of friends, family and even complete strangers.
"I lost a child to the streets in '08 so I know what the mother is going through. Her death was a tragedy."
Tracy Brown was one of many strangers that made a point to stop by the March Funeral Home on East North Avenue to pay their respects to a life tragically not yet lived.
It's the same reason Donell Carter stopped in; having to view a 13 year old in a casket to put a face to the voice he remembers hearing through the choir at their church.
[Do you remember her voice?] Yes, the youth and young adult choir at Southern Baptist Church. [Did she have a pretty voice?] All kids do man, all kids do, all kids do, yeah all kids do. It is just a tragedy that something like this had to happen."
These are the types of stories family and complete strangers will share through this weekend as a community struggles to make some sense of laying a 13 year old to rest.
Meanwhile downtown, the details of Monae's death continue to build toward a possible criminal charge.
At issue for detectives in homicide is not exactly how Monae Turnage was shot and killed accidentally, but to what extent one of the department's own officers was involved.
Sources tell us the gun used in the accidental shooting by the two charged juveniles was not the officer's, but now the crux of their investigation currently depends on physical evidence; DNA that may reveal what if any role he may have played after the shooting.
They are the details the Turnage family will gladly let detectives work and they carry their own particularly heavy and grief stricken load.
Consoled all weekend by those they know...and those who know.
[What's it like to lose a child?] I can't even explain it. They take a part of you with them," said Brown.
The visitation for Monae Turnage started at nine o'clock this morning but the formal wake will be Friday night from 5 to 7.
The family will also receive friends at Southern Baptist Church at 1701 North Chester Street Saturday morning at 10; her funeral will follow at 11.