Non-Profit Opens 'Carina's Closet' In Honor Of Murdered Oklahoma Teen

Tuesday, January 29th 2013, 6:44 pm
By: News 9

Volunteers are working to help young women get off the streets of Oklahoma City and get a fresh start. The group is opening a clothing closet for victims of addiction, prostitution and human trafficking.

It's called Carina's Closet, named in honor of Carina Saunders, the teenager who was brutally murdered in 2011.

8/15/2012 Related Story: Medical Examiner Releases Autopsy Report For Carina Saunders

While Carina's family waits for justice in their daughter's murder, volunteers behind this new outreach program are hoping to turn tragedy into a fresh start for other young women.

Debbie Ashford followed the disappearance and murder of Carina Saunders on the news.

"It was just horrific to me, to realize a young girl like that, such a beautiful girl, could lose her life in such a way," Ashford said.

Saunders' dismembered body was found behind a Bethany grocery store in 2011. Investigators initially said she might have been a victim of human trafficking.

"It just touched me in such a way," said Ashford. "I wanted to honor her in some way."

So she started Carina's Closet at a church in northwest Oklahoma City.

It's a free clothing closet for young women in need, organized by the non-profit No Boundaries International.

"When a girl leaves a horrific situation, she's got an attachment to, a dependency on the trafficker, on the person who's controlling her. So when she comes off the street she may not even have the basic needs met such as food and clothing," No Boundaries President Lori Basey said.

They're also giving away free toys because a lot of the young women have children. Their goal is that the things on their shelves and the mission behind it all will give hope to those who need it most.

"They need a way to get their dignity back," said Ashford. "They need a way to feel good about themselves, and to start their life over again."

Carina Saunders went to Pre-K at the church where the closet is named in her honor.

The two men charged with her murder will be in court for a preliminary hearing in May.

Carina's Closet opens on Wednesday.

For donation and volunteer information.