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Lewis County Remembers Lost Family and Friends

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Lewis County residents gathered in Bendale on Saturday to remember those missing from their lives too soon. Aliayah Lunsford, Maxine Stalnaker and Mary Friend all of who disappeared, and Cory Burkhart who was killed at age 19 in March 2011. Organizers say they hope people won't forget the void left in these families' lives.

"We just want everyone to remember that there is people out there that are still missing, and that we love them and we need closure," said Sherry Toms, who helped plan the event.

Burkhart's stepmother attended the vigil. She said she hopes that justice is done by all the families missing their loved ones.

"The fact that so many people came together for all four of these people to seek for justice for all four of them, to try to find the other three, is heart warming, because you don't always find that in a community," said Burkhart.

Stalnaker and Friend disappeared in December 1999, and even though more than a decade has passed, the families still miss them, and are glad to feel the support from the crowd at Saturday's vigil.

"Somebody else is going though the same thing I'm going through, and my family, and my heart goes out to them because I know what they're going through, and I can't help them," said Smith.

Although families drew strength and support from Saturday's crowd, Burkhart said she'll never be able to fill the spot left open by her stepson's death.

"You just learn to smile harder. You learn to push the tears back and make your eyes glisten with them, because if you don't it'll take who you are away."

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