Tragedies can bring a community to tears, but at the same time they can bring people together.
In Charlestown, that was the case as close to 200 family, friends and community members gathered Wednesday night to remember Kami Ring in a candlelight vigil held at Long Point Park.
Kami, who was 10, was found dead Monday near a home in Port Deposit where she was staying with surrogate grandparents. Maryland State Police are continuing to investigate, and a police spokesperson says foul play is suspected.
For Wednesday's vigil, a small memorial was set up by the flagpole with two photographs of Kami, one taken on that very spot.
Peter Schmidt, a Charlestown resident and a neighbor of Kami's, often saw her playing outside three doors from where he lives.
"It's horrible. It's something you don't know about in Cecil County," Schmidt said. "It doesn't happen much."
"It seems like a lot of people are here to support her and her family," Schmidt added. "You live in Charlestown, you know everybody. It's a small town, a good place to grow up."
People from surrounding communities also came to show their support for Kami's family and the community.
"I have three daughters myself, and the youngest one is 10," said Kris Musselman, of Rising Sun, who brought his daughters with him. "I couldn't imagine what they're going through."
Larry Robinson, the acting unit director at the Charlestown location of Boys and Girls Clubs of Cecil County, said Kami was a "wonderful girl who always like singing."
"She always helped out when I needed her to help out with the kids," Robinson said.
"It's a good community," Robinson added regarding Charlestown. "Everybody came out to support her on short notice. It shows everybody cares about the kids in this community."
Remembering the light
Pastor Scott Stevens, Mission Outreach Director at Shoes 2 Share in Newark, De., read the opening prayer, asking everyone to remember the light Kami brought to those she met.
"Lord, we know that you are loving and a just God. We know that you comfort us in a difficult time," Stevens said as those present bowed their heads. "We know that this is an unfair world and an unjust world and the things that are so precious and the things that are so vibrant and the things that are so innocent are usually the things that are taken for granted."
Doree Hepner sang "Amazing Grace" and "This Little Light of Mine," asking every child to hold their candle high in the air as she sang the latter.
Rick Dean, Kami's stepfather, struggled to find words to show his appreciation for the community.
"Thank you for being here tonight, every one of you," Dean said. "Thank you for the support. I really do appreciate that for my family and everything."
Members of the audience were invited to speak and share their memories about Kami. At times, audience members were brought to tears and sobs.
Bobbi Eggers, the mother of a girl who knew Kami, read a poem she had written from Kami's point of view.