One year after her disappearance, Gabbiee Swainson laid to rest

Published: Aug. 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2013 at 2:17 PM EDT
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Gabrielle Swainson's funeral service
Gabrielle Swainson's funeral service

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - One year to the day after she was reported missing, a teenager who was kidnapped and killed was laid to rest. 

A community that spent the last year searching for Gabbiee Swainson, and the last week in shock at the discovery of her body, filled Right Direction Church on Broad River Road Sunday night to say good-bye.

During the two and a half hour service, which had the feel of a party at times, her friends, pastor, teachers, and local leaders all spoke of the legacy Gabbiee left behind.

"So we look back on the good times we had, and we praise God," said Pastor Herbert Bailey.

In the midst of the happy memories, there were tears, as classmates of Gabbiee Swainson said goodbye to their friend. "We miss you Gabbiee, forever and always," said one friend.

But there was comfort in the story that Gabbiee Swainson leaves behind.

"Thank you for sharing your daughter with us," said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. "Her legacy will go on for many years, reminding each and everyone of us what we need to do to make this community a better place."

The people who spoke about Gabbiee talked about an uplifting teenager, a friend that was always happy and smiling. One former teacher summed her up in one word, "For us, she was perfect. She was the perfect example of what I wanted all my students to be."

The final message came with words of hope from Gabbiee's pastor, "I choose to believe, that because Gabbiee was a Christian, I will see her again.

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