“I know she’s in heaven” Grandparents of murdered Pullman graduate find comfort in vigil

Two days after learning their granddaughter was the victim of a senseless murder, Ross and Joyce Rudeen are in the early stage of grief.

“I know she’s in heaven. It lifts me up and helps me cope with this,” said Joyce Rudeen, Lauren McCluskey’s grandmother.

The 21-year-old Pullman High School graduate was shot and killed Monday in Utah by a man she had been dating and recently broke up with – he later turned the gun on himself. The tragedy unfolded as McCluskey talked with her mom on the phone.

“Her parents are the ones that will suffer the most. Especially her mother Jill, our daughter,” said Ross Rudeen, McCluskey’s grandfather.

The shock and horror of what happened to McCluskey was still fresh Wednesday night as more than 100 people joined her grandparents on the track at Pullman High School – a place where McCluskey grew as a track and field star. After graduating in 2015, McCluskey enrolled in the University of Utah and continued her athletic career.

Those closest to McCluskey described her as a sweetheart – a star athlete who liked to sing and dance.

“We’d lay down on the bed and talk to each other and she shared her heart with me, and that means the world to me,” McCluskey’s grandmother said. “Just in all the years, to see her mature and become the beautiful young woman she is. It was just a pleasure to see her blossom. She was just the neatest person we knew.”

A second vigil is planned for Nov. 1 on the track at Pullman High School. McCluskey’s parents and her high school track and field teammates are expected to attend.

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