Thursday, July 31, 2014

‘We will come together, and we will love’

By MEAGAN PATTON-PAULSON, Herald Connections Editor | 5/10/2013

Tears, somber prayer and memory-filled laughter were abundant among the more than 400 people who gathered for Friday night’s vigil in remembrance of the victims of a quadruple homicide, which took the lives of three adults and presumably one 18-month-old girl.

The vigil, an event organized by several local community members, was at Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., and featured the favorite songs of Kaylie Bailey, Andrew Stout and Steven White, whose bodies were discovered this week at a rural Ottawa farm. Lana Bailey, Kaylie Bailey’s 1 1/2-year-old daughter, also was presumed dead by authorities this week.

Tears, somber prayer and memory-filled laughter were abundant among the more than 400 people who gathered for Friday night’s vigil in remembrance of the victims of a quadruple homicide, which took the lives of three adults and presumably one 18-month-old girl.

The vigil, an event organized by several local community members, was at Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., and featured the favorite songs of Kaylie Bailey, Andrew Stout and Steven White, whose bodies were discovered this week at a rural Ottawa farm. Lana Bailey, Kaylie Bailey’s 1 1/2-year-old daughter, also was presumed dead by authorities this week.

Eric Scrutchfield, who emceed, said the vigil started out as an idea, which quickly grew into a community event.

“It was literally a thought, and within 30 minutes it snowballed on us,” he said. “We expected 40 friends to show up, and the last time I checked we have over 400. Franklin County is an amazing place, and in the midst of everything, we will come together, and we will love. Tonight is going to be a mission of prayer. We’re going to open our hearts.”

In front of a video slideshow with pictures of the victims, organizers spelled out the word “Love” with tea light candles, which several family members helped light.

The Rev. Scott Dickinson, pastor at the Cherry Street Wesleyan Church and the chaplain for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, gave the opening prayer, encouraging people to lean on each other and look for the light during a difficult time.

“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, and that is so true,” he said. “We really need each other. And I hope in this time that we’re together tonight, we understand that. We are family. We are family.”

At one point during the vigil, a little girl who was identified as Steven White’s daughter, took the microphone to say a few words.

“I love you, Daddy,” she said, while many wept for the loss of the little girl’s father and the other victims.

Tina Briggs, Ottawa, laid a bouquet of roses near the candles that spelled out, “Love.”

“I just wanted to bring them out to the family to show support,” she said.

Briggs called the quadruple homicide surreal.

“We’re too much of a little town to have this happen,” she said.

Dickinson, who said he was familiar with the Bailey family, agreed.

“For Ottawa, this is nuts,” he said. “I mean, this doesn’t happen.”

Briggs said she didn’t know any of the family personally but knew the pain of losing someone young. She lost a 1-year-old great-nephew to a car wreck a few years ago, she said, which is why she felt the need to show support. On Thursday she offered to help search at the 3197 Georgia Road site, where investigators are still looking for the body of young Lana Bailey, because she wanted to help in any way she could.

“When a child’s affected, it really hits home,” she said. “I went out there yesterday because I wanted to do something.”

Dickinson said he met with the families of the victims Thursday, to help them grieve and offer counsel.

“The best thing to do is keep it positive and move forward, because laying blame and all that, fixing blame isn’t the thing to do,” he said. “You’ve got to fix the problem. And the problem is violence.”

Jim Smith, the father of Kaylie Bailey, said the vigil and the community outpouring of support has meant a great deal to their family. If Kaylie could see it, he said, she’d think the same — and she’d want people to take something away from it, he said.

“Don’t be haters,” Smith said. “Don’t be haters.”

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