Candles flickered and balloons waved in the wind as family and friends gathered in memory of Eveona Cortez and Elizabeth Juarez, teenage girls gunned down at an apartment complex in Burien one year ago Thursday.

Cortez was 19 when she was shot alongside Juarez, who was 13 at the time they were killed at the Alturas @ Burien apartment complex, now under new management and a new name: Alcove at Seahurst Apartments.

“The area’s always been like this,” said Lexi Houle, 19, who said she was best friends with Cortez.

“Whenever something happens they just change the name.”

Houle said, her friend was known as a good person. “She hung out with some people who didn’t have her best interests at heart,” she said. “She was outgoing, giving, loving. She had so much forgiveness for people.”

King County sheriff’s detectives investigating the killings last year said they believed the violence to be gang-related.

Many family members, including Kendra Cortez, Eveona’s stepmother, came all the way up from Vancouver, Washington, for the vigil. She said they organized it to give people a chance to heal and share their stories of the girls.


Eveona’s father, Ruben Cortez, also wants answers for his daughter’s death.

“I have the utmost respect and confidence in the cops and detectives working the case,” he said.

“They are doing everything they can to bring this to light.”

He said he hopes as time passes, that anyone with information on the case comes forward to police.

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta echoed his plea for information as he spoke at the vigil.

“This is not finished yet.”