The body of a 4-year-old was found in a pond Aug. 22 after emergency crews spent hours searching for her in the Turning Leaf neighborhood in Hamilton Township.
The community rallied with an outpouring of support in the form of a vigil Friday night. A crowd of dozens braved the elements to sing songs and offer words of support to show the family of Emerie Schandorf-Woode.
“We’re mourning together and family, when you cry and weep, know that Jesus is near you,” Pastor Mike Newman said.
The rainy weather didn’t stop those who gathered to honor the 4-year-old, many wearing purple and blue — Emerie’s favorite colors.
“This community is just unlike any other community that I can think of,” Hamilton Township police chief Scott Hughes said. “I mean, we’re standing out here in a downpour to show the support to this family, many of which these folks here have never met. But we’re all impacted by her death.”
Emerie will be buried on Saturday, and the community continues to cope with her death.
“I’ll tell you that the last memory for me for this week will be the word love on Emerie’s T-shirt from the image that went viral on Sunday,” Hamilton Township trustee Mark Sousa said. “And how this community is spreading an abundant amount of love to everyone involved.”