Hundreds attend memorial for slain SC teen girl

Hundreds attend memorial for slain SC teen girl (Image 1)

Family, friends, and the community paid a final tribute to the life of Gabbiee Swainson, the Columbia teen who was missing for nearly a year before a man took authorities to her body earlier this month.

Hundreds packed into the Right Direction Church International Sunday night for a two-and-a-half hour long memorial service for the 15-year-old, WLTX-TV reported.

 The event came 1 year to the day after she was kidnapped from her home and killed.

The case of the girl brought an incredible outpouring of support and interest from the community. Vigils and search parties were held to raise awareness and to pray for the discovery of the girl.

During Sunday's service, Gabbiee's friends, her pastor, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott all spoke, according to the CBS affiliate in Columbia.

“We're here to celebrate the life of that angel that God gave us,” Lott said. “Our hearts are hurting because we all feel she left us too soon.”

Lott said Swainson brought the community together in a way he'd never seen before, WLTX reported.

“Every day that she was with us she touched us. She touched every single one of us, Gabbiee was a child of God, and lived her life as such.”

Swainson's remains were found on August 8. The man who killed her, Freddie Grant, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

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