Memorial service celebrates the life of Sidney Randall

Published: May. 25, 2013 at 10:13 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2013 at 10:50 PM CDT
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WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT)- The Walnut Ridge community celebrated the life of 14-year old Sidney Randall who went missing on March 9th and was found on May 18th in the Black River.

The Walnut Ridge High School gym was filled with family and friends even people in the community who didn't know Sidney but wanted to pay their respects to the family.

"My daughter was one of Sidney's friends and she'd been missing for so long. I just felt today these kids could come together and get some closure," said parent, Tina Dunlap.

"All these kids are having a hard time and I just hope that it helps them get past it," she said.

Anna Bland is a junior at Walnut Ridge High School and said she will remember Sidney as the sweet girl who was always smiling.

"Sidney was on the flag line, I play the alto sax in band," Bland said. "I didn't know her well but the few times I did talk to her she was always really sweet so I just wanted to pay my respects."

The community honored Sidney's memory in many ways. Classmates arrived with Sidney's favorite flower and everyone who attended the memorial service wore a ribbon in her honor.

"One of my friends has a younger sister in that grade who was a close friend of hers and I know it was a big thing to them so I think it was important that all the school shows up in support," said 10th grader Aubree Hughart.

The Rumblin' Round the Ridge biker group rode in together wearing pink which is Sidney's favorite color.

"The family asked us to make a presence here today and we formed a pretty close bond with the family," said President of the group, Jeremy Mclaughlin.

"We did a ride back whenever she went missing to support them family and raise money for them," McLaughlin said.

And some unexpected guests were the Texas Equu Search team from Ohio who came out in March to help in the search before she was found earlier this month.

"They really opened their doors for us here and we just felt it was the right thing to do," said David Rader, director of the Ohio Chapter of  Texas EquuSearch.

"This starts the healing process now."

Rader said there was something special about this community that made him come back for today's service.

"The outpouring when Sidney was found the phone calls that I received I could you not," Rader said.

"We spent a week here but it seemed like a lifetime and I just feel like we belong and we needed to do this as a team," he said.

The memorial service started at 2pm and was followed by a private burial.

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