Pinellas County

Friends pushing for old school to be renamed after murdered classmate 40 years after her death

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) - Almost 40 years after a young girl's murder, her friends after trying to get the victim's old school named after her.

Jeff Nelson and his family have worked tirelessly to keep his sister's legacy alive.

"There's been a lot lives all across the state that were affected directly and indirectly by Elisa," said Nelson, Elisa's brother.

Elisa Nelson was 10-years-old when she was abducted and killed by Larry Mann in 1980.

She was riding her bike to the old Palm Harbor Middle School on 15th Street when he kidnapped her.

Mann was convicted and put to death in 2013.

"Back when this first happened, we felt alone on an island because it's kind of a shameful thing to be the one that everyone looks at and we thought we were alone."

The Nelson family created the nonprofit "Elisa's Greatest Wishes" in her name, which supports and benefits thousands around the Tampa Bay area.

Elisa's friend want to fulfill one more wish.

They took to social media to spread the word.

"They put it out on Facebook. and it's got a lot of people signing up," said Nelson. 

The district plans to re-open the school that closed after her death.

They're asking for public input on name suggestions.

"It's completely appropriate. She's completely a leader in the community and amongst her friends. Her friends are still following her 40 years later and that says something," said Nelson.

The district is asking people to submit their name ideas in a letter, 100 words or less, by noon Feb. 25.


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