School was cancelled, businesses closed and an entire community came together for about two hours on Wednesday to remember a 12-year-old girl who, nine days ago, was just another sixth grader starting her first day of school.
After school that day, Monday, Aug. 19, Adriaunna Horton went with her sisters to play at Golden City's newest park, Hazel's Park, just a few doors from her house. It was the last time she was seen alive.
An estimated crowd of more than 1,000 people filled the Golden City High School gymnasium, which normally seats about 300 to the little girl who's abduction has shocked a community and drawn nation-wide attention.
It's a crime that has shattered that small-town aura of safety and security forever in Golden City.
“It's all changed — absolutely did,” said firefighter Steven Lewis, who attended the funeral, then talked briefly to a reporter as he stood near a growing shrine to Adriaunna at Hazel's Park.
Lewis said members of his family knew the suspect, Bobby Bourne Jr., Lockwood, who is now being held in the Jasper County Jail, charged with first degree murder, kidnapping a child, forcible rape and statutory rape.
“Bobby lived in Lockwood and my niece actually went over one time and spent the night at his home not long ago,” Lewis said. “It kind of hit home. I didn't know him but my family did.”
Another firefighter, Elliott Spain, said the crime changed the way he cares for his children.
“It changes your perspective completely,” Spain said. “I used to let my kids go to the pool and stay there all day long. They could call me when they wanted to come home, but now I'm afraid of someone walking up to them and doing something.”
Spain said the crime hit home for him because his daughter is the same age as Adriaunna and knew her.
“My daughter played volleyball with Adriaunna, not for the same town, but she knew her from playing volleyball,” he said. “They hung out before and after games.”
Before her death, Adriaunna sang with Golden City First Christian Church Children's Choir.
Her friends in that choir sang three songs at her funeral.
Brother David Powell, the officiating speaker at the funeral, talked of a “week full of pain, but some relief when the body was found.”
“It's hard to make sense of what happened because it's hard to understand evil,” Powell said. “But Adriaunna is not the victim here, she's the victor.”
Meagan Jackson, Grove, Okla., a cousin of Adriaunna's by marriage, performed a song she wrote for the cousin she never met, but wished she had.
Page 2 of 2 - “I hope they (the family) hold on to the chorus,” Jackson said after the funeral. “I hope she's dancing with angels tonight up in Heaven where God can hold her tight. Where's she's free from harm's way and fright. And she can let her light shine bright.”