A 20-year-old college student from Monument with a black belt in taekwondo was identified Friday as the woman found dead in her Colorado Springs apartment Thursday.
Angelina Sicola, a sophomore communications major at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, was strangled and her death was ruled a homicide, police said. No arrests have been made.
'We are all very devastated and shocked, ' friend and co-worker Chanda Chatham said.
Sicola worked as an assistant instructor at the U.S. Taekwondo Center in Monument. She was a black belt and was working to become a second-degree black belt, Chatham said.
'As an organization, with all of our students, we are all very tight-knit. We call ourselves the USTC family. To all of us here, she was our daughter, our sister, our granddaughter, so this is like losing your own child, ' Chatham said, crying.
'She was the perfect student, and honestly, if anyone could be like her in this world, it would all be a much better place. This was a wonderful person and had no enemies, ' she said.
Sicola graduated from Palmer Ridge High School in Monument in 2011, according to her Facebook page.
Lifelong friend Mollie Burns Leland said she had 'great memories ' of Sicola as a child.
'We went to day care together, ' she said. 'I would always braid her hair. '
Burns Leland said Sicola was a 'wholesome girl ' who was loved by many.
'We all miss her dearly and would do anything to hear her sweet voice again, ' she said.
UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak emailed a statement to faculty, staff and students Friday night saying she was saddened to share news of Sicola's death.
'I offer my condolences, on behalf of the university, to Angelina's friends, family, and classmates, ' Shockley-Zalabak said in the email.
'University officials are in contact with Angelina's family and the Colorado Springs Police Department. We will assist the family and, if requested, the police department in its investigation, ' she said.
Chatham called Sicola a 'wonderful person ' who was 'very smart ' and had a 'great sense of humor. '
'She always had a smile on her face, ' she said.
Sicola's body was discovered just after noon on Thursday in an off-campus apartment at 3801 Half Turn Road, south of North Academy Boulevard and Austin Bluffs Parkway. Neighbors said the woman who lived in the apartment moved in about 1 1/2 months ago.
Her death marked the city's 13th homicide this year. At this time in 2012, there had been nine homicides.
Contact Daniel ChacOn: 476-1623 Twitter @danieljchacon Facebook Daniel Chacon