Medford, Mass., Remembers The Girl With The Freckles

The death of Krystle Campbell in the Boston Marathon bombings has rocked the community where she grew up. Friends and family remember the 29 year old as the kind of person who'd drop everything to help someone. She had a big personality and trademark freckles.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. We're learning more about the victims of the Boston Marathon attack. Of three people killed, one person's name has yet to be released. Two others are known - 8-year old Martin Richard, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell.

NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports on how the news of Campbell's death tore through her hometown of Medford, just outside Boston.

DAN BOBKOFF, BYLINE: When death tolls go from numbers to names, it has a way of turning unassuming residential neighborhoods into spectacles. The TV trucks park outside. Police guard the family's door. Cars drive by and pause to gawk at the grieving. And neighbors like Eddie Serino on the sidewalk, learn the reality.

EDDIE SERINO: Excuse me.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah?

SERINO: Did they find out if it was Billy Campbell's daughter that died? It is?

BOBKOFF: It was true. Krystle Campbell, the second victim to be identified.

SERINO: It's his kid. It's just - it's sickening.

BOBKOFF: About a mile from the Campbell family home, Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn was at City Hall. He spoke with the family Tuesday afternoon, shortly after learning the news.

MAYOR MICHAEL MCGLYNN: To deal with those emotions of shock, of anger in the early stages, and then finding out that one of the three victims was actually a young lady from our city, just compounds the sadness and the anguish.

BOBKOFF: The mayor says all day Tuesday, family and friends had been talking and posting online about Krystle Campbell; about her exuberance, her generosity. But those closest to her are still trying to wrap their minds around what happened.

YANN KUMIN: You know, news ticker pops up and you see your friend's name, it's just like - surreal.

BOBKOFF: Yann Kumin and Krystle Campbell go back about seven years, part of a close-knit group of Medford friends. Sitting in his home, he clicks through her Facebook pictures. In nearly all, she's beaming.

KUMIN: Smile - the girl had an enormous smile; freckles...

(SOUNDBITE OF WEEPING)

BOBKOFF: Freckles were Krystle's trademark. She recently started a new job. For a long time, she was the manager at a restaurant called Summer Shack. To Kumin, she was there so much that she became Summer Shack Krystle. But she'd drop anything to help a friend in trouble, even if they had drifted out of touch. And she loved the marathon. Kumin says she went every year, to watch.

KUMIN: Krystle loved Boston. And she loved people, and she loved crowds; and just being with people and enjoying life. And I think that's what makes this so hard.

BOBKOFF: Krystle Campbell was standing near the finish line when the bombs went off. A friend of hers was injured, and Campbell was killed. The next day, her mother, Patty Campbell, emerged to face the row of cameras aimed at her porch. She spoke briefly, with her son by her side.

PATTY CAMPBELL: We are heartbroken at the death of our daughter, Krystle Marie.

BOBKOFF: The grief is overwhelming.

(SOUNDBITE OF CRYING)

CAMPBELL: I couldn't ask for a better daughter. We can't believe this has happened. She was such a hard worker at everything she did. This doesn't make any sense.

BOBKOFF: Soon, the TV trucks will be gone from Campbell's street. They're likely off to Boston University, where the third person to die in the Boston Marathon attacks was a graduate student. The Chinese Consulate in New York confirms that she was a Chinese citizen, but says her family does not want her name and personal information released.

Dan Bobkoff, NPR News, Boston.

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