Original Publish date: May 25, 2017
CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — For months now, the Carroll County community has been looking for ways to heal from the tragic deaths of six local girls.
A stone bench honoring the girls' legacy was unveiled Thursday in Flora. The bench now sits on the corner of State Road 18 and Center Street in the city's downtown area.
The bench was dedicated to honor four sisters, Kionnie, Kerriele, Keyara and Keyana, who were killed in an intentionally set house fire in Flora. It also honors Abby Williams and Libby German, two teens murdered in Delphi earlier this year.
"This piece, right here, is an everlasting piece," said the four sisters' grandfather, Tracie Rose.
More than 100 helping hands, 22 days and a dream is what it took to create the bench.
"I know that the girls are looking down and they're grateful and they're happy," Rose said.
The bench is called Six Girls Stone Immaculate and has all their names carved into it.
The project was started by Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School art teacher Branden Apitz.
"I helped carve on the bench," Kerriele's former mentor Hannah Morgan said. "It was a very emotional experience being able to put my heart into something that's going to help the community."
The bench was designed by hand using a 10,000-pound piece of limestone. It's meant for anyone who is hurting and needs time just to sit and reflect.
"Even though I leave for college in about two months, I could see myself spending time here instead of having to drive by the house and have to remember it that way as a tragedy," Morgan said.
Students who were once in the same class as Kerriele said the unveiling makes them miss their close friend.
"She always was happy and she never cried and she never was sad," Malia Speicher said. "I hope sometime I get to sit on it."
Another way students are honoring the four sisters is by placing a banner in their front yard which reads, "Hope for Help." Each student in the elementary school signed their name to it.
"It's very comforting to know that the community can come together to do all of this work," Morgan said.
While the dedication was emotional to get through, Rose knows the bench is everlasting.
"This is a reminder for me all day and every day. But at the same time, as a parent, I'm blessed," Rose said.