Miles for Merritt covers route of mail carrier two years after her death in an intentionally set fire

By Jerry Lynott - [email protected] | April 15th, 2016 9:34 pm - updated: 9:36 pm.

WILKES-BARRE — On his feet all day delivering the mail Bobby Conklin put in a few more miles for a friend.

He joined approximately 100 family, neighbors and co-workers of Laurie Merritt to remember her Friday night on the second anniversary of her death, covering her postal route in the city’s North End.

“I did a big route today and my legs are killing me,” Conklin said. “I’m 67 and I don’t care how much we walk. I’d walk for her any day.”

They started and ended at her home on Wyoming Street where her body was found in the attic crawl space the night of April 14, 2014, during a smokey fire that was intentionally set. Still to be determined is how it started and whether someone killed the popular mail carrier. Her iPhone was found next to her and investigators have asked Apple to unlock it to determine if it contains any clues to solve the case.

“You had to get along with her,” Conklin said, recalling Merritt’s likeable personality and willingness to help.

Like others in attendance and along the route, Conklin said he couldn’t believe it when he found out she was dead. “You wonder why God does things. Maybe he wants her up there with him,” Conklin said.

A purple balloon hung from a post on Joe Roback’s porch as he watched the group pass by on the sidewalk in front of his house on Wyoming Street. Merritt delivered his mail.

“She stopped to talk to everybody on her route,” he said.

More houses displayed the purple balloons and someone at a house on North Pennsylvania Avenue wrote on one in black marker “R.I.P. Laurie Merritt” and drew two hearts underneath the message.

Across the street Barbara Vega made sure a balloon was stuck to her mailbox.

“She was very well liked, an excellent mail lady, an excellent person,” Vega said.

Purple was Merritt’s favorite color and it signifies domestic violence, said her daughter Kristin Merritt. She suspected foul play in the death, saying “my mother’s killer’s still on the street somewhere.”

She asked that people dwell on the positive and remember her mom’s happy spirit.

Neighbors David and Roxann Durham said they were also friends of Merritt who delivered their mail.

“She was a really kind-hearted person,” David Durham said.

Co-worker Kelly Cox offered a short prayer at the end of the walk.

“We can’t believe it’s been two years and we just trust you have a plan Lord. We trust that Laurie’s in your arms right now, Lord, looking over us and we pray that you will just bless this family, give them the peace and comfort that they need,” Cox said.

“Thank you for the beautiful sunshine and the weather and just the life and spirit that Laurie brought to this neighborhood and this family,” she said.

Joe Walkowiak appreciated the turnout said he wanted to hold an annual event for his younger sister.

“We’re going to try to keep it going every year and we’re going to try get a scholarship going and give it in Laurie’s name to somebody that’s in need. Because that’s what she would have wanted,” Walkowiak said.

Barbara Vega displayed a purple balloon from her mailbox Friday night and watched friends and family of her former mail carrier, Laurie Merritt, walk by on North Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre to commemorate the second anniversary of Merritt’s death in a fire intentionally set at her home.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_TTL041616Merrit2-1.jpgBarbara Vega displayed a purple balloon from her mailbox Friday night and watched friends and family of her former mail carrier, Laurie Merritt, walk by on North Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre to commemorate the second anniversary of Merritt’s death in a fire intentionally set at her home.
Friends and family of Laurie Merritt walk along her former postal route along North Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre on Friday afternoon.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_TTL041616Merrit3-1.jpgFriends and family of Laurie Merritt walk along her former postal route along North Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre on Friday afternoon.
Laurie Merritt was a popular postal carrier and people along her route who could not attend the memorial walk Friday night showed their support by hanging balloons on their mailboxes.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_TTL041616Merrit4-1.jpgLaurie Merritt was a popular postal carrier and people along her route who could not attend the memorial walk Friday night showed their support by hanging balloons on their mailboxes.
Friends and family of Laurie Merritt walk on N. Pennsylvania Ave. in Wilkes-Barre in her honor on Friday afternoon. 4/15/16. Sean McKeag | Times Leader
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_TTL041616Merrit1-1.jpgFriends and family of Laurie Merritt walk on N. Pennsylvania Ave. in Wilkes-Barre in her honor on Friday afternoon. 4/15/16. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

By Jerry Lynott

[email protected]

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott


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