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Community unites with vigil

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FLY: The crowd watches as a lantern is released following the vigil.
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CROWD: Hundreds of peopleraise their candles as they prayduring a vigil in Gas City tohonor Skylea Carmack, who was found and pronounced dead at her home earlier that day.

BY Samantha Oyler - soyler@chronicle-tribune.com

Dozens of teddy bears, balloons and flowers, placed there by members of a hurting community, rest outside the home of Skylea Carmack.

Hundreds of people came to vigils held Wednesday evening, after police found the body of the 10-year-old hidden in a trash bag in a shed behind the house.

The first vigil was held at the Holy Family Catholic Church, and the second was held at the Gas City-Mill Township Public Library shortly after.

Hundreds of people showed up, carrying candles.

Brandi Anderson came out with her family after hearing about the event on Facebook.

She said she wanted to show respect for Skylea, her family and the community.

“It’s just really an eye opener for everyone. I have kids, and I have nieces and nephews the same age,” Anderson said.

A number of people spoke, prayed and read poetry in Skylea’s honor.

The pavilion was decorated with pink signs that had sentiments written on them.

“We loved her a lot, but God loved her more,” one read.

Throughout the vigil, it was clear that though not everyone in attendance knew Skylea, the community as a whole was determined to make sure she won’t be forgotten.

John Humphries reminded people to look out for one another and spoke about how the community came together to help search for and support Skylea.

“I know a lot of things divide us, but it’s been awesome how we all came together,” he said.

After the vigil had concluded, the crowd lingered, still holding their candles.

“Amazing Grace” played over a sound system, and at someone’s request, the crowd started to sing along.

In the end, someone lit a lantern in Skylea’s honor and let it float away.