RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - On Friday members of the community held a balloon release in honor of Latania Carwell. Earlier this week the GBI identified the remains found at the back of one of the homes belonged to her. One by one as people arrived on Golden Camp Road, many knew today would be a day filled with different emotions.
Marquita Hodges – Family helped search for Latania "Happy and sad at the same time…. Why is that…. She's finally going home, peacefully"
16-year-old Latania Carwell went missing almost a year ago and since then the people in the Richmond County Community, many who didn't even know Latania like Marquita Hodges did what they could in trying to bring her home.
"You never know how hard it hits somebody until you see your own kids out there looking," says Hodges.
After the department arrested her mother Tanya Tripp and step-father Leon Tripp for concealing a death and murder, for months according to the Sheriff's Department there was no new leads to where she might be. Until last week when the new homeowner of a vacant home was canvassing his back yard and notice a bone sticking out of the dirt.
That same spot is where many gathered to sing hymn's and to send out strong messages. For mother's like Marquita, this day gives in closure in more ways than one.
"There's a lot more love out there then we think. It's just when we need to pull together, we pull together and this is proof of it," says Hodges.
And for others overcome with emotions, they say this is only the beginning. "We will not rest until the truth and the answers that we have questions for are answered," says Ray Montana.
Leon Tripp is due in court next Friday for a bond hearing.