HOPE MILLS, N.C. – Dozens of people showed up Sunday in a show of support for Danielle Locklear's grieving family, according to WTVD-TV.
The crowd helped raise money for a memorial service and funeral for the15-year-old, whose body was found in the South River three weeks after she went missing.
Music and memories of a young life cut tragically short filled Hellas restaurant and parking lot, where the fundraiser was held. While there were many smiles, there were also a lot of tears as the memory of Danielle was never far from the minds of her family.
People wore t-shirts that read "Team Danielle." They also wore bracelets in support of Danielle's family and her grieving mother, Rowna Fowler.
"No one can know what goes on inside of me," Fowler said.
Danielle went missing on March 11. Police say her 17-year-old boyfriend, Je'Michael Malloy, confessed to strangling her and then calling 18-year-old Dominic Lock to help get rid of her body.
Both are charged with second-degree murder.
But it is the memory of Danielle's smiling face that keeps everyone going.
"We go through emotions, our happy moments out sad moments but today we're looking at it as a celebration of her life," said Danielle's aunt, Chena Papa.
Overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support, Danielle's mother struggled through tears to speak.
"There are so many mixed emotions and I'm just so thankful for all these people: the community, the town the city, everybody has been so supportive," Fowler said. "I'm amazed right now. It's like I have happiness and also I'm still sad."
No funeral date has been set yet. The body still has not been released to the family.
If you'd like to help the family with funeral costs you can either go to your nearest Wells Fargo Bank or click the link below.