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Weleetka Girls Remembered With Prayer Vigil

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Dozens of Weleetka residents attended a prayer vigil in memory of Taylor Paschal-Placker and Skyla Whitaker. Dozens of Weleetka residents attended a prayer vigil in memory of Taylor Paschal-Placker and Skyla Whitaker.
The vigil was held at the road-side memorial near where the two girls were found dead. The vigil was held at the road-side memorial near where the two girls were found dead.
Speakers reflected on the pain and anguish still felt by the girls' families, as well as the entire town. Speakers reflected on the pain and anguish still felt by the girls' families, as well as the entire town.

By Chris Wright, News on 6

WELEETKA, OK -- A tight-knit community is remembering two girls who were murdered last summer.

Eleven-year-old Skyla Whitaker and 13-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker were found shot to death on a rural road near Weleetka. No arrests have been made in the case.

A prayer vigil was held Sunday in their honor at the road-side memorial where the two girls were found dead in June.

People in the community are still holding out hope that the killers would be found.

Time has done little to heal the wounds opened in Weleetka eight months ago.

"There's still a lot of grief, a lot of bewilderment," said Steve Gneich, pastor of First Baptist Church of Weleetka. "Until the murderer or murderers are discovered who they are, I don't think we'll have any peace."

Speakers discussed the pain and anguish the families and the entire town are still dealing with.

"It's been pretty rough," Weleetka resident Tyler Rudek said. "There's a constant feeling of what's going to happen next. It's pretty hard to handle."

The ceremony was also meant as a memorial and an appeal to a higher power for help in the case.

"Anybody who has been tied to this tragedy, we want to remind them to pray about it, ask God's intervention in this because it seems to be out of man's hands at this point," Charles Simmons of First Baptist said.

Participants also hope the vigil will bring the tragedy back into the public consciousness.

While Weleetka will never forget what happened to Skyla and Taylor, it worries the rest of Oklahoma may have, and the town says it needs all the help it can to solve the murders.

"There's always clues available," Gneich said. "I believe there is somebody who knows something. We just gotta find out who."

Weleetka residents say there have been other incidents in the past eight months or so as well, including another homicide, that have them feeling that they're on an incredible string of bad luck. 

They hope Sunday's prayer vigil helps to bring an end to that.

Related Story:  09/04/2008  Grand Jury Targets Weleetka Murders

Read more stories related to the Weleetka murders.

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