A 21-year-old woman who attended Gulf High School and lived in Pasco County for most of her life was shot to death last week in Portsmouth, Va.
Meredith Frost, known to family and friends as Mary, died July 15 after she was shot in the head, chest and arms, said John Seyler, a technician with the Medical Examiner's Office in Norfolk, Va.
"Apparently, she wasn't in the best of neighborhoods," Seyler said. "She was the only victim, although there were two men with her when it happened."
Frost moved to Virginia about three years ago to be close to her mother, Sharon, who lives in Portsmouth _ a city of about 100,000 that borders Norfolk.
Police said Frost was walking on a street in Portsmouth shortly after midnight when the shooting occurred.
It is not clear whether robbery was a motive for the killing, said Detective Amber Whittaker, a spokesman for the Portsmouth Police Department.
Whittaker would not confirm whether Frost was with anyone at the time of the shooting.
"All I can say is we are treating it as a homicide, and it is an active investigation," she said.
Frost was flown to Norfolk General Hospital, where she died a few hours later, Whittaker said. Her ashes will be placed next to her father's grave in New Port Richey.
Frost leaves behind two small sons: a 2-year-old and a baby less than a year old. One boy is with his father in Portsmouth and the other is being cared for by Frost's mother.
Born in Clearwater, Frost lived with her grandmother, Marcella Frost, in New Port Richey and Holiday for eight years.
Frost loved gymnastics, was an average student and was devoted to her father, Terry, Marcella Frost said.
She left Florida when she was 18 _ shortly after her father died of a heart attack at age 46.
"She found him that day," said Marcella Frost. "She was devastated. They were very close."
Marcella Frost said her granddaughter had been working at a discount store in Portsmouth.
Meredith Frost's uncle, Jerry Frost, said he hadn't seen his niece since she left for Virginia three years ago.
"She moved away and we sort of lost touch," said Jerry Frost, who ran a New Port Richey concrete business with Terry Frost for 10 years. "She was a pretty good girl _ like any other teenager, I guess."
In addition to her sons, mother, grandmother and uncle, Frost is survived by three sisters, Evelyn and Terri Ann of Crystal River, and Lora Parker of Holiday.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Vincent De Paul Church on Mile Stretch Road in Holiday.
In memory of her granddaughter, Marcella Frost has placed a 3-foot statue of the Virgin Mary on her front lawn in Holiday. It sits between two tall pine trees in a small garden that was planted in April.
"You don't know what to do, but this seemed right," she said. "It's like these trees were put here for her."