Birmingham & Black Country

Viktorija Sokolova: Vigil for girl found dead in park

Balloons on gate
Image caption Balloons were tied to the gates of the park

Hundreds of people have released balloons during a vigil in memory of a teenager found dead in a park.

The body of Viktorija Sokolova, 14, was discovered in West Park, Wolverhampton at 07:00 BST on 12 April.

The vigil was held at the park where she was found and mourners tied blue balloons - her favourite colour - to the park gate.

A 16-year-old boy from Wolverhampton has been charged with her rape and murder and is in custody.

Viktorija's family described her as "a little angel" who made their lives "so colourful and full of meaning".

Image caption Hundreds of people attended the vigil which was organised by friends

Chelsea Reed, a friend, said: "It's hard to get over. You just want to curl up in a ball and just sit there.

"She was all happy, she was always light and fluffy and wouldn't let anyone get in her way.

"It makes you happy, people showing respect, it makes you want to think happy memories."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Viktorija Sokolova's body was found on 12 April

Bethany Zielinski added: "It's just heartbreaking. She was amazing... made everyone smile.

"I was devastated. We want her to have the best send-off ever."

West Midlands Police said investigations into her death were continuing and officers had recovered CCTV.

Det Insp Caroline Corfield urged people not to share "threatening and inaccurate posts" on social media as it could "undermine the investigation and put innocent people at risk".

Miss Sokolova's family said they were finding "rumours" on social media "very upsetting" and asked that it be "stopped".

Image caption Candles, teddies and gifts were also left in her memory

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has confirmed it is investigating the response from West Midlands Police after Miss Sokolova was reported missing by a member of her family the evening before her body was found.

IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: "Our investigation will focus on how police responded to the missing person report, rather than how Viktorija died."

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