Archive for Tuesday, November 9, 1999

Girl’s death leaves family, children with questions

November 9, 1999

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— Family, friends wonder why the smiling, shy girl was killed.

At 4:20 p.m. Friday, honor student Camille Arfmann stepped off a school bus. The driver watched the 14-year-old walk to the residence of her sister and brother-in-law in rural Jefferson County.

Camille stepped inside and was gone from sight.

After that moment, what remained of her life became a mystery that Jefferson County Sheriff's officers now are trying to solve.

Camille, who stuck to schedules, was supposed to attend a church fun night Friday evening.

Sometime over the weekend, Camille was shot to death and thrown into a ditch. Her body was covered by trash and dirt.

Family and friends wonder why this shy girl who always had a smile on her face should meet such a tragic end.

"It's not fair that she died this way," said Peggy Craig, a counselor at Oskaloosa High School. "She was young. It isn't fair. It isn't right."

Camille was new to the Oskaloosa school district this year. Previously she attended Jefferson County North schools.

Monday, students who had gotten to know Camille in the brief time she was at the high school "shared memories of her. How friendly she was. How she never said anything mean about anyone," Craig said.

Craig, area ministers and a crisis counselor from Lawrence were at the school Monday to talk to students about Camille's death. The students were told by their first-hour teachers that Camille's body had been found.

"I've been here 19 years and nobody's ever been murdered," Craig said. "We've had kids killed in car accidents."

Sitting on the steps of the mobile home where Camille was last seen, her mother, Tommie Arfmann, talked about her daughter, the youngest of seven children.

Arfmann talked about a door frame in her Winchester home where Camille left her teeth marks as a toddler.

"I never let them repair it," Arfmann said.

Arfmann remembered how Camille first climbed the stairs to the home.

"She had to set her little caboose down and scoot her way up," she said. "She was a very smart kid."

Camille was living with her sister and brother-in-law so she could ride a bus to the high school here. Her mother gets up at 3 a.m. to go to work. The girl's parents have been divorced for 14 years. Her father, Dale Arfmann, could not be reached Monday at his home in Lawrence for comment.

Friday night, Camille was supposed to be with Countryside Baptist Church's youth group.

Jim Bolinger, a Sunday school teacher at the McLouth church, was talking to youth group members Monday.

"I'm talking about the good things she did to give from her life," Bolinger said.

"She was faithful," he said. "She was a good girl. ... She was quiet. She didn't talk. She always seemed to have a smile. She was an excellent worker. She was always willing to help wash dishes or clean up."

Arfmann talked also about her daughter's faith.

"She thought God would see her through," she said.

"She wanted to be a police officer," Arfmann said. "She wanted to help with kids who had been in car wrecks to give them teddy bears."

Sunday night, Arfmann said a sheriff's officer suggested she go home and sleep. She had been awake since Friday.

"There was no way you could lay down," she said. "Everywhere you look there are memories of her."

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