New Carlisle holds vigil for six-year-old found dead Friday

NEW CARLISLE, Ind. - Friends and family, still in shock after six-year-old Grace Ross was found dead in a wooded area on Friday, came together Sunday to support the Ross family and keep Grace's spirits alive. Roughly 50 people came to Memorial Park in New Carlisle Sunday evening for a vigil in Grace's honor. Her family and those who knew her best spoke to the crowd about what kind of a girl she was and why her memory must carry on. The family was overwhelmed by the support and still in shock by Grace's sudden passing.

"She liked my jewelry," Kelli Howard, Grace's grandmother, said. "So, I always told her that when her fingers got big enough to fit these rings that she could have them, and her hands never got to be past a baby's hands."

Howard said Grace told her she would cuddle her until she was 100.

She said the community support has meant the world to her and the rest of the family.

"I want to thank the community for everything that they've done and all the support that they're showing the family," Howard said. "Just continue to pray for us."

The vigil was a coming-together of many strangers to the Ross family, including the organizer, Brad Ellett who said he'd never met the Ross family before Sunday.

"I want the family to know, again, that I'm here to help," Ellett said. "The community's here to help. Anything I can do, anything the community can do to help them through this troubled time."

Ellett was not the only stranger who has tried to help the Ross family. Strangers online are trying to help Grace's Aunt, Nicole Ross, raise money for the family. Nicole said she originally had a goal to raise $5,000. Needless to say, that goal has gone up.

"As of the time I pulled up here, we had over $19,000," Nicole said.

As of this publishing, the fundraiser had more than $21,000. She said she posted the fundraiser online on Saturday and that all that money had come in in less than 24 hours.

Police did not have an update on the investigation Sunday. They said it is still ongoing and that they would have an update on Monday. As they investigate, St. Joseph County Second District Commissioner Derek Dieter said this kind of case demanded county help.

"This is part of our community," Dieter said. "It's part of the whole St. Joseph County community." Unfortunately, things happen. so, we just like to reach out and see if there's things we can do to help people deal with the tragedies that happen in the St. Joseph County Community."

Police said if you have any information on the death of six-year-old Grace Ross's death to contact them as soon as possible. As of Sunday night, the investigation is still ongoing.

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