Plymouth community reacts to death of Mercedes Lain

PLYMOUTH, In -- The community here hoped for a different outcome, that Mercedes Lain would be returned home safely. Now, they're just trying to make sense of what happened.

"I just can't imagine, as a parent, losing a child. It's just not right," said Irene Kelly.

In the wake of Mercedes Lain's death, people who never even knew her, grieve for her.

"I'm sad, I'm disgusted, I'm heartbroken," said one resident, who wished to be anonymous. "My heart hurts so much for their family. I’m without words.”

Officials confirmed the young girl was found dead Wednesday evening -- abandoned in a wooded area in Starke County. The horrific ending provided some type of closure for the community.

Irene Kelly says "I'm glad they caught the three," referring to Tiffany Coburn, Kenneth Lain and Justin Lee Miller. "Whether they’re involved or not, at least they found her. It would have been worse if they didn’t find her.”

News of the 11-month-old's disappearance spread all over social media -- a Facebook group was created in hope that the news would get around and she would be found alive. One woman involved with that group spoke this afternoon.

She said "I have to settle with it being satisfied because of the outcome. I wish it would have been a different outcome, but we weren’t that lucky.”

Though Mercedes was not returned home safely, the group's work will continue with a new focus: to seek justice for Mercedes Lain. 

The woman involved with the Facebook group had a message for the baby's family: “I’m sorry. Hugs and prayers to you all. And if there’s anything this community can do to help your family, please, just reach out. We’re here for you all.”

A vigil is planned to be held in Mercedes Lain's honor at 8 p.m. on August 21 at Centennial Park in Plymouth. 

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