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Friends, family remember Tina

July 02, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - As dusk fell Sunday, about 20 friends and family members of Tina Marie Starcher gathered for a candlelight vigil along Dam #4 Road in northeastern Berkeley County where the slain woman's body was found June 20.

Still distraught over the way they learned of her death and grieving over the loss, the group gathered around a wooden cross to remember the 40-year-old Martinsburg woman.

Two candles on either end of the cross were lighted as well as sparklers that were stuck in the ground. A bouquet of pink flowers was placed at the base of the cross.

Some members of the group sobbed and made comments.

"Just because those flames will go out doesn't mean hers will go out," said friend Jamie Ogan.

"Love ya', Tina," someone else called out.

Starcher allegedly was picked up by two men May 27 and taken to a home in Hedgesville where she was forced to have sex with them and killed, according to authorities.

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Fred Dwayne Douty II, 28, of 1301 Texas St. in Martinsburg, and Anthony Charles Juntilla, 37, of 86 Tecumseh Trail in Hedgesville, W.Va., each were charged with one count of first-degree murder, according to charging documents.

Family members have said they were upset that police did not initially tell them how Starcher died and said they had to learn about the ordeal in news stories.

It was an issue family members continued to wrestle with Sunday night.

"I just can't believe they did it that way," said Julie Cook of Gerrardstown, W.Va. Cook is the fiance of David Underwood, one of Starcher's four siblings.

The area where Starcher's body was found is in a remote area near the Berkeley-Jefferson county line near a power line right-of-way.

The group participating in Sunday's vigil gathered along the narrow, gravel Dam #4 Road. The cross was put along the edge of the road and a short distance away was a steep incline where Starcher's body was allegedly pushed over a rock ledge, family members said.

When darkness fell during the vigil, the group paused for a moment of silence and about the only sound was crickets in the woods.

They also recited the Lord's Prayer.

Since Starcher's death, family members have spoken highly of the way she lived, particularly how she took care of family members in need.

During Sunday night's vigil, friends and family members said Starcher treated everyone in the Centre Street neighborhood where she lived that way.

During oppressive heat, for example, Starcher often checked on older people to make sure they were enduring the heat, Cook said.

Underwood recalled how Starcher came to his house in April to see him before he was to have surgery.

Starcher then hugged her brother.

"She said she loved me and that's the last I saw of her," Underwood said. "I just can't believe she is gone. You never believe it's going to happen to your family, you know?"

Starcher's parents were not at the vigil.

Her father, Mike Underwood, could not come because he was too upset, family members said.

Ogan emphasized that Mike Underwood was loved by everyone at the vigil and he sent out special thoughts to him.

"He's the backbone of the family. I just want to make sure he knows that," Ogan said.

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