Jonathan Law High School
Peter Hvizdak/The New Haven Register/AP; Inset: Facebook
04/25/2014 AT 03:30 PM EDT
A 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death inside a Connecticut high school Friday, and police were investigating whether a boy attacked her because she turned down an invitation to be his prom date.
Maren Sanchez was attacked in the hallway of Jonathan Law High School in Milford, about an hour's drive from New York City, around 7:15 a.m. Staff members and paramedics performed life-saving measures on the girl, but she was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.
The 16-year-old boy was taken into custody. His name wasn't released because of juvenile offender laws, said Police Chief Keith Mello. Investigators were looking into reports that the girl had declined to be his date for the junior prom, which was scheduled for Friday night but was postponed because of the stabbing.
Sanchez, a junior, was in the National Honor Society and engaged in school activities, schools Superintendent Elizabeth Feser said. Students were released from school early, and officials were offering counseling services.
"We are obviously devastated by the loss of one of our students, Maren Sanchez," Feser said at a news conference. "She was a 16-year-old junior – vibrant, very, very involved in Jonathan Law High School, an incredible contributor, someone who was loved and respected." Sanchez is seen smiling in what appears to be a selfie posted on her Facebook page
Students described an emotional, somewhat chaotic scene as police and paramedics swarmed the school.
Sarah Golden, a 14-year-old freshman, said she was sitting in the main lobby with friends when she was startled by several security guards running down the hall. Then she heard a voice on a walkie-talkie say that someone had been strangled.
"I was trying not to freak out because it was really scary," Sarah said. "I just don't believe that something like that happened at my school. It's something that seems so unreal."