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Woman found slain inside Wallingford home described as ‘vibrant force’ in community

SEATTLE -- It catches your eye at the corner of 43rd and Interlake. It’s a memorial for a woman many say was even more beautiful than the display.

Friends say the woman found dead inside her Wallingford home was 38-year-old Lita Byrnes.

A friend discovered Lita on Monday morning, and Seattle police said they were investigating her death as a homicide. However, police have not said how Lita was killed or if they are looking for any specific suspects.

“She was a community builder and was a warrior of inclusion,” friend Molly Donovan said.

“Lita didn’t have a lot, but she shared everything she had with whomever needed it. I learned so much about humanity and community from her,” friend Liz Jurcik said.

“She was a vibrant force in our community,” Wallingford resident Margaret Steck said.

Many in Wallingford knew of Lita Byrnes even if they had never seen her in person.

“An ear and a hand, anything -- she was willing to give,” Steck said.

Lita was a strong presence on social media as an administrator for a Wallingford community page.

“She had the temperament to lead people, you know, always injected kindness when things got off the rails,” friend Amy Dullard said.

Dullard said it’s shocking that anyone would want to hurt Lita.

She was the kind of person that rushed to Amy in another state after Amy’s cancer diagnosis.

“I am so lucky to have someone like her. I am so lucky that she included me as one of her friends,” Dullard said.

And those who didn’t get a chance to meet Lita now regret it.

“I’ve been in this community for 20 years. I’ve never seen such an outpouring of love and affection for someone. It breaks my heart, it’s someone I missed meeting,” Steck said.

So now Steck and many others want to find a way to make the memorial permanent.

“We would like to plant her favorite flowers and decorate it with some of her favorite items,” Steck said.

And when they do, perhaps they will keep the rocking chair left behind at the memorial.

“Lita has a tattoo of a rocking chair on her arm, it was meant to represent really true friends and one day sitting on the porch in your 80s rocking in the rocking chair,” Dullard said.

There was a vigil for Byrnes scheduled Wednesday night in Wallingford at the same corner as the growing memorial.

There are so many questions about her murder. Was this a random case or was Lita targeted?

Seattle Police would not elaborate, only saying they are still investigating.

If you have any information that could help investigators solve Lita's murder, you're urged to call Seattle police.