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updated: 1/29/2014 6:23 PM

Funeral held for 11-year-old murder victim Dora Betancourt

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  • Dora Betancourt was remembered Wednesday for her smile, and her love of art and cheerleading.

      Dora Betancourt was remembered Wednesday for her smile, and her love of art and cheerleading.
    Courtesy of Christine Coleman

  • Dora Betancourt of Mundelein was stabbed to death in January 2014.

      Dora Betancourt of Mundelein was stabbed to death in January 2014.


Mourners packed a Libertyville church Wednesday morning for the funeral of an 11-year-old Mundelein girl who authorities say was slain by her half-sister last week.

The service for Dora Betancourt was held at St. John Lutheran Church. Dora was a fifth-grader at the church's school and sang in the junior choir.

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The funeral was closed to the media at the family's request, as was the visitation preceding it.

The turnout was so large, the service was simulcast on television in the church basement for people who couldn't find seats in the main chapel, attendees told the Daily Herald.

A transcript of the Rev. Kevin Raddatz's eulogy was published on the church's website. In his remarks, Raddatz recalled Dora's smile, and her love of art and cheerleading.

"When we had our talent show, I think she was one of the first to sign up," Raddatz said. "She had a cheer she wanted to show us."

Later in his remarks, Raddatz spoke of how Dora now "sees the angels cheer as they cheer God's wins."

In a telephone interview after the funeral, family friend Tami Forman called the service "sad but beautiful."

Another family friend, Christine Coleman, said Raddatz prompted mourners to ponder what they'll remember about Dora.

"I will remember her as a happy-go-lucky, bubbly, sparkly, smiling girl," Coleman said in an interview. "She always had a twinkle in her eye."

Dora was killed Jan. 21, stabbed to death in her bedroom. Her 14-year-old half-sister has been charged in juvenile court with first-degree murder.

Authorities said the teen killed Dora because she felt underappreciated by the younger girl.

The Daily Herald is not publishing Dora's half-sister's name out of respect for court instructions that she not be identified.

The teen remains in custody and did not attend the funeral.

She is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at the Lake County juvenile justice center near Vernon Hills.

Dora's survivors include her parents, three grandparents and her half-sister.

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