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Police continue search for killer of 17-year-old Lily Burk as family and friends mourn

As police continued their search today for a suspect in the slaying of 17-year-old Lily Burk, her parents released a statement describing how she touched their lives.

"The thing we want people to know about Lily is that she was a beautiful person and that she was looking forward to her life. She was funny, warm, kind and empathetic. She was deeply and widely loved,” read the statement from Deborah Drooz and Greg Burk, a Times freelancer who writes about pop music. Lily would have begun her senior year at Oakwood School in North Hollywood in the fall.

Her body was found at about 6 a.m. Saturday in her black Volvo on the fringe of downtown Los Angeles near the intersection of Alameda and 5th streets.

Police said Burk left her Los Feliz home at about 2 p.m. Friday and later made at least two calls to her parents asking how to get cash from an ATM machine using her credit card. Investigators said that it appears she died from blunt force trauma. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.

Over the weekend, Lily’s classmates and family friends gathered at a Los Angeles home to mourn her death and remember her life. They would not comment publicly other than to characterize the Oakwood school community as close knit and supportive.

“Lily was looking forward to going to college, to being a writer, to what was ahead,” her parents said in the statement. “She had a really bright future and it was cut short. If there is anything that people can take away from this horrible tragedy, it’s that life is fragile and that they should live every minute of it fully.”

-- Corina Knoll and Ari B. Bloomekatz

Comments () | Archives (21)

What a terrible tragedy this is. I hope the police catch the perpetrator(s) and that the perps never see life outside of a prison.

I'm so very sorry to read of this young persons passing. How horrible this is. I can only begin to imagine the immense sorrow and pain these parents are feeling~my heart goes out to them.

Where this young woman would have been starting her life~it has now ended. It sounds like the parents brought into the world and brought up a remarkable young woman.

Alameda and 5th? Or 4th? Two different stories. But that neighborhood is hardly deserted, esp. in the middle of the afternoon.

Before I had even read Lily's parents statement that their beautiful young daughter's life cut short should make us reflect on the fragile beauty of life and live every moment to the fulllest, I was alredy thinking just that while working out at the gym and looking out onto an aquaintance exercising out on the lawn of Triangle Park in Culver City. It is a sad and beautiful world from where I stand today.

Lily's father Greg was a rock band aquaintance of mine a few decades ago and I knew him to be a gentleman of unique integrity in that particular world. Greg is a true cosmopolitan renaisance man of cultural sophistication. I see that Lily's mother Deborah is on a board of directors for a homeless organization. I hope and pray and trust that they will continue to make meaning out of their daughters shining memory.

I never met Lily, however reading her brief bio and the news of the vileness of her tragic end has touched me deeply. This story infuses me with new vigor to try and make the world a better place by healing the scourge of drug and alcohol addiction in our society. I am also recharged to continue my prison literacy work in Lily Burk's memory. Most of the two million prison inmates in America cannot read. With the pending decarceration of 30,000 convicted felons in the State of California, the crime problem will only get worse, until we truley rehabilitate and heal large segments of our society.

Please keep the L.A. Times up to date with the unfolding of this important story.

Dean "The Dean of Recovery" McAdams
Playa del Rey, CA

My condolences to the family of this young girl. This is so hard to understand. As a father of an 18 year old and a 16 year old, this breaks my heart

Apparently I am not as enlightened as some because in instances like this, a swift death penalty seems both appropriate and undersued.

Such a great soul that was cut loose from this world far too early

Rest in peace Lily

This is a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

It occurs to me that we might be able to prevent other crimes by instituting a "panic code" at ATM machines. If a person is under duress or abducted, she could enter the special code, (perhaps the PIN code backwards), thus alerting law enforcement.

When will society stop aiding these habitual predetors that take the lives of young people like Lily Burk. These people can not be rehabilitated. Since there are others that can benefit by these criminals being terminated let us start to consider euthanization and harvesting of body organs for people that need transplants.

It is a shame that such a beautiful young lady with so much potential was killed. As a parent of a young daughter I sympathise with her parents as they looked forward to her living a productive life.

Is is apalling that the suspect was a person who had a history of drug abuse and was allowed to remain on the streets. When we see our governor cutting these treatment programs like Proposition 36 which was designed to treat drug users, and with him also allowing for so many drug offenders to be released from prison, we see that we have an epidemic waiting t happen oce these jail doors are opened in the name of saving the state money! We must rally against these cuts because drug abuse not affect the user but society as a whole.

What a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family. The 52 year old who commited this crime should be shot dead and have NO trial.

This is really a horrible tragedy and unfortunate part of life. I agree with the other readers comments; the murderer should just be shot dead in the head - no trial no nothing!!! Why waste tax dollars on scum like him?
Also, unfortunately, due to the cutbacks in our State, we may see more crime from all the criminals being let out early.

I lived for years right near where Lily was stolen away-- loved that old Bullocks building. I can't believe how beautiful she is-- like a goddess. I wish I could have been there, maybe I could have tried to stop the crime. I can't feel any compassion for Mr. Samuel--I'm sure he had a "troubled childhood" that the pop psychologists will tell us about, in order to 'justify' his crime in some perverse way. I don't buy it-- I hope he could get LWOP in SuperMax in Colorado. To me, that's the worst punishment the Gov't could issue, but it's not a Federal jurisdiction. He'll probably serve a few years in a state lockup, then be released...for taking away this Angel. I'll pray for her and her beautiful parents-- but nothing will fill this hole in their hearts..

Kill him. Immediately.

who fights for the rights of hard working, tax paying individuals who frequent downtown LA? We can thank the ACLU for going overboard and protecting the rights of the criminals and homeless walking the streets of downtown LA. I feel horrible for this family.

My prayers go out to the parents and family of Lilly. I pray that God gives them the strength to continue on. Her face is delicate and that of an Angel. God Bless you all. My heart breaks for you. May the loss of such a young heart inspire others to be charitable as she was.

What a sad story! I frequent all of the area's where lily traveled with this OLD loser until she was sadly found. I cannot believe such an act could occur during a Friday afternoon and without anyone noticing, how could this be? This really makes me angry :( All I can say is that if I had encountered her and this scum bag, I would've done everything in my power to help her!

Aren't most OLD men at home with their grand children or something? What 50 yr old is still abusing crack cocaine? run his head over with lilies car, an eye for eye seems right to me.

Not since Samantha Runnions murder several years back have I been so impacted by a family's tragedy. Charles Samuel was a ticking time bomb, finally now we can lock this monster away,at the cost of Lily's precious life

I feel so sad for these parents. I know they loved their daughter, and there was nothing they could have done to aviod this tradedy.

Why are our children not protected? The Governor, the ACLU and our justice system all have her blood on their hands. There should be no second chances for any of these criminals. I believe in an eye for an eye. Good riddance for bad rubbish. Get these wastes of flesh off the streets!

Reading the newsweek article on this made me want to run out into the middle of the street and scream and scream and scream until I couldn't feel feelings anymore. This strikes me to the core as a 17 year old high school senior, looking to do many of the things Lily seemed to be set on doing. I feel sick and utterly wretched and i don't know what to do.


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