CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) - 11-month-old Harlee Lewis would have had her first birthday this past Monday. Wednesday night hundreds gathered to remember the little girl who was found dead in a backyard just over a week ago.
Chesterfield, South Carolina is small, tight knit community. There was no better example of that than during the vigil for Harlee Lewis. Around 200 people gathered in the parking lot of the Chesterfield County Courthouse in her honor. Many of them, without ever knowing Harlee.
“I would have loved to see her smile,” Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks told the crowd.
Instead of a smile, many community members were shedding a tear for Harlee Lewis.
A single candle was lit by everyone in honor of the one-year-old who was taken too soon. Her death touched the hearts of everyone in the crowd.
“I lost a baby 3 years ago and I don’t see how this could happen,” said one mother.
It was an unthinkable tragedy for any community. Mothers say they couldn’t help but think of their own children.
“I am so grateful. I don’t see how anybody could do anything. It all just made us wanna hold our kids a little closer.”
The same could be said for Chesterfields men and women in blue. Deputies stayed strong at the scene last Tuesday when Harlee’s body was found in a diaper bin behind her home.
“You could see them sneak to their cell phone and just get that one call in to the house and tell the kids that dad loves you. When you see seasoned officers do that, it really tugs at your heart strings,” said Sheriff Brooks.
The community, now with hearts full of love, are looking to turn the page on this tragedy.
“We need to take the loss of Harley and turn it to something positive so it doesn’t happen again,” said the event organizer.
The sheriff tells FOX 46 Charlotte the investigation into Harlees death is still ongoing. Family members and friends were interviewed by investigators Wednesday. Harlees mother, Breanna Lewis, remains in jail.