Valley man dedicates marathon race to murdered daughter

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- When some 20,000 runners hit the pavement Sunday for the annual P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon, among their ranks will be ASU professor David Wells, whose 17-year-old daughter was found brutally murdered late last month.

Brianna Wells' body was dumped in an alleyway in south Phoenix, and police have few clues and no leads in the search for her killer.

David Wells registered Friday for this weekend's marathon, a race he is dedicating to his daughter.

"I run, and I found I had a really strong leaning to do a run for my daughter after she was murdered," he said.

When asked how he is doing, Wells said it depends on the day.

"Sometimes I do pretty well, and sometimes you think about, you know, that it's been almost three weeks and she's still not here," he said. "She's not going to be back and it's just difficult."

Wells described his daughter as sensitive, spontaneous and funny.

And for him and his family, the pain has been compounded by the fact that the teen's killer is still out there.

"I sometimes will be crying when I'm running," he said. "Sometimes emotion will come over me, but it is something that helps me work through it."

Running alongside Wells Sunday will be several family friends, including U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema. They will all be wearing a T-shirt designed in Brianna's memory. Wells said it bears a phrase his daughter loved: "Never forget how truly amazing you really are."

"We'd like to have people come forward, and I think for a lot of people's closure, it's really important to try to get a sense about what happened to her," Wells said. "And for me, it's even more important that whoever killed her could kill somebody else or harm somebody else. And I can't bring Brianna back, but it is really important that what happened to Brianna not happen again."