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MIDLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - Hundreds of people gathered Friday night in Midland to remember a young mother who was allegedly murdered by a Mount Pleasant pastor.
The body of Rebekah Gay, 24, was found the morning of Nov. 1 in a wooded area only a half-mile from her Mount Pleasant mobile home. Authorities say Gay's neighbor John White, 55 -- who had also been dating Gay's mother -- admitted to beating her with a rubber mallet and then strangling her with a zip tie while her 3-year-old son was in the other room. White now faces one count of first-degree murder and one count of open murder.
Friday night, a candlelight vigil was held at Bullock Creek High School, from which Gay graduated in 2007.
"This here is the hub of our community. Through the years, when one of us hurts, we all hurt," said Bullock Creek Superintendent Charlie Schwedler.
With many in the tight-knit community hurt and shocked, the high school seemed like a fitting location for the vigil.
"She graduated in 2007 with us," said event co-organizer Riki Shook. "We thought it would be appropriate to be at Bullock Creek where we all knew her."
The event came together fast -- but not as quick as things went wrong. A mere 48 hours before the vigil, Rebekah Gay was only listed as missing.
"You go from she's missing, we have to find her, people have to search for her, to they found her, and now she's gone," said Shook.
Community members and family remembered Gay fondly but with heavy hearts. And they found strength in Gay's 11-year-old niece Arianah Kortge.
"What happened to my aunt will be remembered for years," said Arianah. "She taught me not to look at the bad things when something happened, and to look at the good things."
Arianah said it's not up to her to judge John White.
"I will never forgive him to what he has done, but I will not get between what he did. It is between him and God," said Arianah.
This weekend a multi-faceted storm brings us the chance of freezing rain, rain, sleet and snow.
A 63-year-old Grand Rapids man has been sentenced after he pled no contest to having various pictures of him having sex with a teenage boy.
Two men have been arrested for their alleged connection with the death of another man whose body was found along the side of a Kent County road.