Moms

After mysterious death, Watauga woman's life is fondly remembered at vigil

HURST -- Tearful family and friends of a woman found dead alongside Airport Freeway last weekend remembered her Friday night as a "precious person."

About 60 people gathered at an athletic field at L.D. Bell High School, which many of them attended with Tonya White Page, who graduated from Bell in 2000.

"Our hearts are breaking," Amanda Brown said. "We love you, Tonya."

Teresa Baxter, Page's mother, wept as friends shared memories.

Page, 29, of Watauga, was found early Sunday on the shoulder of the freeway near the Brown Trail overpass, police said.

She had been run over by a vehicle and died of a head injury, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

Police are investigating what hit her and how she came to be on foot, wearing bluejean shorts over a bathing suit, at that location about 2 a.m., police said.

At 2:08 a.m. Sunday, the image of a person matching Page's description was caught on a business security camera walking south on Brown Trail toward Airport Freeway, police said. She set her purse down on a sidewalk and walked away, according to police.

Bedford police Lt. Kirk Roberts said Friday that detectives have reported no new information. The Tarrant County district attorney's office is assisting police, he said.

Page's funeral was Friday afternoon.

The Class of 2000 is "really close," said Mindy Clay, a Bell alum and friend of Page's. "And she was killed right next to the high school. That is really, really upsetting for us and the mystery that's behind it still."

Page, who was married and the mother of two toddlers and had a 10-year-old stepson, was friendly and outgoing, said Brown, a friend since the seventh grade.

She met Page -- then Tonya White -- when the two were seventh-graders, in the junior high cafeteria. Brown said she had forgotten her lunch money, and Tonya lent her money to buy lunch.

"It was a big deal to her that I didn't have a lunch,'' Brown said. "That's stuck with me 15 years later."

Page was on the student council and on the track and soccer teams, Brown said.

At the vigil, Pamela Stroud, Page's fifth-grade teacher, said she had been a delightful child.

"She was a precious person inside and out," Stroud said.

She worked at a Watauga tanning salon, Clay and Brown said.

Adding to the sadness, the friends said, was that Page's children will not remember their mother.

"We all discussed doing [the vigil] also because her kids, when they grow up, they'll find out that their mom mattered to a lot of people,'' Brown said.

Yamil Berard,

817-390-7705

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