Benefit Game to Honor Slain Girl

Entertainers and media personalities will gather at Franklin Field on Sunday for the fourth annual Nicole Parker Celebrity Softball Challenge.

The event memorializes Nicole, an 8-year-old girl who disappeared while playing softball in the courtyard of her father's gated Woodland Hills apartment complex in late 1993. Hundreds joined the search for Nicole, which ended 36 hours later when her body was found stuffed inside a suitcase in the apartment of Hooman Ashkan Panah, who is sentenced to die for killing and sodomizing her.

"Although there are hundreds of tragedies in Los Angeles every year, Nicole Parker's murder captivated everyone," said Eric Rose, a deputy for City Councilwoman Laura Chick and an organizer of the game. "People in the San Fernando Valley and celebrities were looking for a way to remember her. From that was born the softball game."

The three previous editions raised about $10,000, according to Chick's office, most of which helped fund the softball-playing expenses of underprivileged children. This year portions of the proceeds will also go to the organization Parents of Murdered Children and toward the construction of bleachers at Franklin Field to be dedicated to Nicole.

Those scheduled to participate include actors Beau Bridges, Mark Harmon, Casey Sanders and Jon Lovitz; media members Todd Donoho, Chris Meyers and Stephanie Miller, and film and TV's Garry Marshall.

Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the game, which is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children 5 and younger are free.

Franklin Field is at Oxnard Street and Louise Avenue.

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