The parents of fatal hit-and-run victim Faith Margaret Sinclair are still reeling from the shock of the death of their 16-year-old daughter, who was ruthlessly run down crossing Chester Pike in Sharon Hill Sunday night.
But the enormous outpouring of sympathy and support from relatives and friends is helping them to endure the tragedy, her parents, Mike and Kim Ferrell of Woodlyn, said Tuesday.
A roadside memorial at the deadly intersection of Chester Pike and Laurel Road includes numerous stuffed animals and countless fond messages and signatures on poster boards placed on a nearby fence.
The parents were especially touched by the gesture of an elderly woman during a candlelight vigil at the site Monday night.
The elderly woman said she knew Faith as a regular patron at the McDonald's restaurant on MacDade Boulevard near the MacDade Mall.
The woman asked "if she could kiss the picture of my daughter," Mike Ferrell said. She said Faith was the most beautiful caring young woman, he said.
After the woman kissed the photo, "she took my hand and said, 'Did you have any idea that you had the most amazing young woman I've ever met?'" Kim Ferrell said.
"That was when I just got so overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and love," and collapsed.
Her son, Derek Sinclair, 18, a former wrestler at Ridley High School who will be attending Drexel University, works at the same McDonald's where Faith worked, along with his girlfriend.
"He said that woman used to come in and say, 'Where's my Faith?'" Kim Ferrell said.
"It was just amazing," she said about the turnout of at least 200 people, including family, old neighbors and friends. "She touched so many people's lives."
The Ferrells had lived in Sharon Hill on Reese Street almost 12 years, before moving to Ridley Township two years ago.
Faith, who turned 16 July 15, was an honor student who played the flute and would have entered Ridley High as a junior next month. She planned to attend West Chester University to become a special-education teacher, her mother said.
Scott MacNeil, a Sharon Hill Borough councilman, remembered Faith Sinclair as a nice girl and a "joy to be around."
"I coached her in softball. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family," MacNeil said.
Ridley School District Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Ignatuk said the young victim had been in the district for a year or two, having come from the Southeast Delco School District.
"I do know she was a very good student," Ignatuk said. "She was in a number of our honors classes and did very well. According to her 10th-grade report card, she got all As and a few Bs."
Kim Ferrell said her heart goes out to the family of Faith's boyfriend, Alex Penman, who had just crossed Chester Pike before Faith was hit by a black Mercedes-Benz that fled the scene.
Penman's family told the Ferrells "she was the daughter they always wanted and never had." Faith had dated Alex about two and a half years, she added.
The two were both in the gifted math program at Academy Park High School and were introduced to one another by Faith's friend, Kirstie Kehner, 16, of Laurel Road, Kim Ferrell said. Kehner was crossing the intersection with them at the time of the accident. They were headed to Kehner's house.
Faith had a smile that "even on your worst day could still make you love her," her mother recalled. She would look for her brothers before she went to bed, reminding her family, "It's not just important to love people, you have to tell them."
The mother wrote a message at the roadside memorial that stated, "Sweet Dreams, Miss Wiggly!!! Mommy." She also has a tattoo on her ankle that states, "Sweet Dreams, Love You Always."
Kim Ferrell said she called her daughter Miss Wiggly "because she never stopped moving when I was pregnant with her."
The victim's father pleaded for anyone with information on the hit-and-run accident to contact Sharon Hill police "and if you are the person responsible, please turn yourself in."