Dozens pay tribute to Gabbiee Swainson in vigil

Published: Aug. 15, 2013 at 3:20 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2013 at 3:20 AM EDT
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ELGIN, SC (WIS) - Dozens of neighbors in Elgin gathered to celebrate the life of 15-year-old Gabbiee Swainson, the Ridge View High School teen who was recently found dead after almost a year of being missing.

Friends and family say she was an outgoing teen, an "A" student, a good friend, and an outstanding daughter. It's hard for many not to remember Gabbiee's smiling face.

Many in the Midlands want to ensure her memory lives on forever.

Michelle Bentley helped to organize a candlelight vigil for the teen on Wednesday night. Like  many who showed up to the vigil, she didn't know the teen, but she knows what it's like to be a mother.

"Couldn't imagine if someone was to take one of my teenage girls then to get that phone call that the same place where people had already searched was where she had laid for a year," said Bentley.

That was the driving thought behind many mothers attending the vigil for Gabbiee.

"I'm a mother of four, and it's just a devastating thing to lose a child," said Diane Candela. "I can't even imagine, so I just came to pray for her."

"I was shocked," said Frederica Thomas. "Things happen for a reason and God makes no mistakes."

Hundreds signed a poster which will eventually be given to Gabbiee's mother, Elvia.

"We hurt for Ms. Swainson," said Bentley. "We just wanted to do something."

Although Gabbiee's story came to a tragic end in Elgin, the community refuses to forget her.

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