Five months ago a 14-year-old girl named Kelli O’Laughlin was murdered when she walked in on a burglary in her home.

Her fifteenth birthday was on Monday, and I was fortunate to be able to be at the celebration in Indian Head Park. Hundreds of her friends and family members gathered to remember her life once more.

All photos shot on assignment for the Chicago Tribune. Check out the accompanying story here.

Update: Check out the Kelli O’Laughlin Memorial Fund‘s website. All money collected goes to a scholarship in Kelli’s name.

'We Love You Kelli Joy Happy B-Day' was spelled out on the overpass of Plainfield Road at I-294 on Monday evening. Family and friends of Kelli O'Laughlin gathered to celebrate what would have been her 15th birthday.

John and Brenda O'Laughlin, Kelli O'Laughlin's parents, address the audience on Monday night. Family and friends of Kelli O'Laughlin gathered to celebrate on what would have been her 15th birthday.

Brenda O'Laughlin, Kelli O'Laughlin's mother, addresses the crowd on Monday night. Family and friends of Kelli O'Laughlin gathered to celebrate on what would have been her 15th birthday.

John O'Laughlin, Kelli O'Laughlin's father, embraces Annie Lefevour after she spoke about his daughter on Monday night. Family and friends of Kelli O'Laughlin gathered to celebrate on what would have been her 15th birthday.

Family and friends of Kelli O'Laughlin finish singing happy birthday during a party to celebrate what would have been her 15th birthday.

Family and friends of Kelli O'Laughlin release balloons during a party to celebrate what would have been her 15th birthday.

3 Responses to Celebrating Kelli

  1. Jennifer says:

    awesome pics reid! Made me tear up and I havent even read the story!

  2. Kelli's Dad says:

    Hi Reid,
    Thank you for these beautiful pictures. You and all the media were very respectful of the intent of this event. This was a time to come together as family, friends and community to remember and celebrate Kelli’s life. With the help of the entire community we gave her a beautiful party.

    Thanks again.

  3. Reid Compton says:

    John,

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m sending you an email now with a collection of photos that I took on Monday (the ones above and some extras). I’d like you to have them.

    Thank you for letting myself and the rest of the media be there to share in the celebration of Kelli.

    Best,
    Reid

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