For weeks after Judy Cajuste's murder a year ago, the slightest reminder of the Roselle girl sent her mother into hysterics.
Those reminders were everywhere in town: Judy's empty wooden bed. Judy's friends walking home from school. Judy's prom picture.
Friends and family watched as Magalie Cajuste stopped sleeping and eating. In less than a month, she lost 40 pounds.
"She went crazy," said her sister, Teresa Cajuste. "All of us were crying because we were losing Maggie, too."
Six torturous months after 14-year-old Judy's naked body was found in a Newark Dumpster, Teresa Cajuste said her sister couldn't face Roselle's ghosts anymore.
"She moved to Florida," Teresa Cajuste said. "She can't take those memories."
Yesterday, on the one-year anniversary of Judy's disappearance, it was Teresa Cajuste confronting the memories.
Troubled that the case remains unsolved, the aunt and her supporters called a press conference in front of Abraham Clark High School, where she urged investigators to stay focused on the case and to share the leads they've found so far.
"We don't know what they found," she said.
The problem, police say, is they haven't found much. There have been no arrests.
Cajuste, a high school freshman, vanished after track practice on Jan. 11, 2006. Investigators say they still know little about what happened in the two days between her disappearance and the discovery of her body in a Dumpster in Newark's Weequahic Park. She had been strangled.
"We have not been able to ascertain where she was killed, or where she was taken from the time she was last seen," said Roselle police Sgt. Bill Brennan, who has been on the case from the beginning. "We have no witnesses to any events involving her disappearance."
Early on, friends of the slain girl said she had met an older man on MySpace.com, an online networking site, and suggested she left Roselle with him. That theory remains under consideration, Brennan said, but it is not the only one.
Despite the dearth of information and the passage of time, the investigation remains active and intense, said Gregory DeMattia, who heads the homicide unit in the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.
Brennan remains hopeful.
"The smallest thing could be the break that we need to move forward," he said.
Small things remind Teresa Cajuste of her niece every day.
Her own intricate hair style triggers memories of peaceful Sundays past, when she spent hours twisting Judy's hair into slender braids.
Shopping trips are hard, too, reminding Teresa Cajuste that she and her niece, both 5-foot-2, loved to swap clothes. A black T-shirt, Judy's favorite, provides some comfort.
"When I miss her, I just put that shirt on me," Teresa Cajuste said.
But it is not just family members who continue to struggle with the loss.
The high school gospel choir dedicated a song, "One Sweet Day," to Judy at its holiday concert. Her name has been a rallying cry for local parents concerned about the dangers of sex offenders and online networking sites.
"It created fear and concern that has not gone away," Councilman Jamel Holley said.
In at least one respect, the girl's death has had even broader implications.
Later this month, the Assembly will consider "Judy and Nikki's Law," a measure named for Judy and Nicole Giovanni, who grew up in Roselle and who was beaten to death by her mother last year. Like Judy, Nicole was 14.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Neil Cohen (D-Union), would require mandatory life imprisonment without parole for those convicted of killing anyone 16 or younger.
"This is named after two beautiful 14-year-old little girls," said Nicole's father, John Giovanni, adding that the parallels between the girls' deaths "hit home" for him.
"I made a promise to the (Cajuste) family that I would keep working . . . to help find the killer," the father said.
To that end, he appealed to the public for help.
"Somebody had to see Judy get in a car. Somebody had to see her at a traffic light," Giovanni said. "Maybe they didn't realize it on the day . . (but) somebody knows something."
All Teresa Cajuste knows is that her family has been ripped apart by the loss of her niece, the "tree" that held the branches of the family together.
Magalie Cajuste's home on Crescent Avenue in Roselle was once the hub of a large and vibrant family. Her parents and several of her eight siblings, who emigrated one by one from Haiti over the past 25 years, often gathered there.
Since Judy's death, the relatives have scattered.
Magalie Cajuste moved to Florida, and while she and Teresa Cajuste talk daily, the sisters can't bring themselves to talk about Judy. The girl's father, separated from her mother, lives in Haiti.
A brother of the Cajuste sisters moved to Georgia. A third sibling moved to New York. Teresa Cajuste is the only one left in New Jersey, though she, too, has moved from Roselle.
"The person who killed Judy," she said, "he destroyed the whole family."