Ceremony celebrates life of Katelyn Markham

Published: Apr. 20, 2013 at 7:27 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2013 at 4:23 AM EDT
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FAIRVIEW, OH (FOX19) - Friends and family of Katelyn Markham pushed aside their grief on Saturday to celebrate Katelyn's life.

A 'Celebration of Life' ceremony was held Saturday evening in Fairfield, Ohio.

Those close to Katelyn have endured so much pain since her disappearance in August of 2011. They figured it was time to embrace the joy Katelyn brought to their lives and thank the people who helped in the search.

"There were so many people, you know, hundreds of people who searched and donated and prayed and sent me letters and cards," said Katelyn's father, Dave Markham.

Despite the agony if the ordeal, Dave helped establish an Ohio branch of Equusearch in the aftermath of his daughter's disappearance. Equusearch is a search and rescue organization dedicated to finding missing persons.

"It's a way for me to give back. Also, it's a way for me to connect with that time," explains Dave. "It's painful to do it, but it also reminds me of Katelyn and it reminds me of the gratitude that I felt at that time."

Dave Rader, a search coordinator with Equusearch, was on hand at the ceremony.

"It has been a long road, but you know the process is now that Katelyn is being brought home and as you can tell from the people that are gathering now," said Rader. "This community hasn't given up since day one so there's a lot to be said for this community to come together again to celebrate her life."

Some who gathered for the vigil didn't even know Katelyn but were there for numerous vigils and searches.

"One thing I realize is we're all in the same boat," explains Peggy Harris. "This vicious cycle of violence doesn't discriminate.  So I wanted to come and show the family my support and let them know my prayers are still with them."

Harris lost her own son to violence back in 2007. She felt she needed to stand with Katelyn's family.

"It was important for myself because my son was murdered, Johnny was murdered so I know that pain and we just need to support each other."

Katelyn's fiance, John Carter, also attended the celebration, but declined to talk on camera. He did say that Katelyn was the love of his life and hopes that whoever is responsible is brought to justice.

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