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Hundreds gathered Sunday evening on UW's campus with candles and fond memories to remember the life of Brittany Zimmermann. Those who knew her best made clear that the 21-year-old student from Marshfield who was found murdered inside her Doty Street home last Wednesday, will not be forgotten.
Friends, family, even perfect strangers, showed up to the Great Hall inside Memorial Union.
They were asked to write messages on a UW flag, which will be given to the Zimmermann family.
Messages included 'Brittany, I will always love you' and 'Our hearts are with you and your family.'
Three of Brittany's aunts said she would be overwhelmed by Sunday night's tribute. "She never wanted to call attention to herself, she always put others before herself," said her aunt Jean Weichelt. "She would not expect this at all," added aunt Mary Ley.
Among the students who attended was McKenzie Aschenbrenner, a UW junior from Marshfield who has called Brittany Zimmermann a friend since first grade. "She was just a great person, she was really the kindest, friendliest, most level-headed, easy going, most intelligent girl," said Aschenbrenner. "She had just so many good qualities."
Shortly after, the event moved outside. A candlelight vigil took place in the past half hour in Library Mall.
Sources told us last week Zimmermann was stabbed to death in her apartment. Since then, police have questioned students and residents in surrounding neighborhoods for clues.
UW's dean of students Lori Berquam cited relatives of Zimmermann who said it's surreal that Brittany Zimmermann won't be walking up Bascom Hill anymore.
Zimmermann was a third-year senior studying microbiology and immunology. She was expected to graduate in spring 2009, and then work toward a masters in public health and a doctorate in infectious disease.
Her aunts Ley, Weichert, and Lisa Walcisak said they would miss her smile the most.
Madison police have received more than 75 tips about Zimmermann's case. Many people living in the same area have reported to police that they have been approached by a person or person's looking for money around the same time.
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