Friday, August 29, 1997
Friends, family honor Carrie
Funeral without a coffin

BY CHRISTINE WOLFF
The Cincinnati Enquirer

stage
Carrie Culberson's photo sits beneath balloons on the stage at Blanchester High School.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
BLANCHESTER - Their words invoked a fresh picture of Carrie Culberson Thursday, the first anniversary of her disappearance, as family and friends memorialized her.

They mourned Ms. Culberson in the Blanchester High School gym - on the stage where she received her diploma in 1992 and on the sidelines where she had been a cheerleader. At the end, yellow balloons carrying written memories of her were let loose in the schoolyard.

It was a funeral without a coffin. Though Ms. Culberson's ex-boyfriend Vincent Doan was convicted Aug. 7 of aggravated murder, her body remains missing.

Carrie Culberson
Carrie Culberson

Vincent Doan
Vincent Doan

Ms. Culberson's blue letter jacket - awash with white Bs for track, band, soccer, choir and cheering - hung under an arch of tiny lights. Photos of the dark-haired, 22-year-old woman showed the engaging smile everyone remembered.

"You could always count on her to cheer you up - either with her silly faces or goofy laugh," Sandy Flora, a friend, told the gathering of about 250 people. "She showed everyone how to let go and have fun."

Ms. Culberson loved her family, Marilyn Monroe, blueberries, cotton candy, sports, gossip and a good shopping spree, said Kim Titus, her closest friend since elementary school.

"Our dream was to get married and live close to each other and have our children at the same time. She always said she wanted our children to be as good of friends as we were," she said, her shoulders shaking with sobs.

The service was needed, said her mother, Debbie Culberson, "because of the possibility of never finding Carrie."