Dozens of community members gathered Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil to remember 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera, the Canton girl who was found murdered one year ago.
The remembrance service was organized by a volunteer of the YMCA in Canton and a friend of Jorelys' mother.
Speaking through a translator, Jorelys' mother, Jocelyn, said the past year has not been easy but the love of her two young daughters, ages 2 and 5, have helped her through it.
"She has really come a long way, and I am so proud of her," said friend Amy Turcotte. "She is a good mom and loves her girls."
Jorelys was abducted and killed by a maintenance worker at her apartment complex on Dec. 2, 2011. Ryan Brunn pleaded guilty to murder then hanged himself in jail shortly after he was sentenced.
An investigation criticized Canton police for having no sense of urgency in the search for Jorelys after she disappeared and failing to call in extra police help.
Since the investigation, a new police chief has taken over and enforced policies and procedures.
"It was very clear that we had to change our mindset," said Chief Robert Merchant. "When we went out there, we needed to treat every case as if it was our own."
Merchant and several other police officers attended Sunday's vigil.
"I think this is an event that touched the entire community and the Canton Police Department," said Merchant. "I think it was the right thing to do to be out here tonight."
The Cherokee County sheriff was the one who stepped in and called in the GBI after the botched investigation by Canton police. One deputy was reprimanded after he and a trainee failed to notice blood in an apartment they searched after Jorelys disappeared.
However, the sheriff's office said its policies and procedures are sound.
"One thing that has occurred here is there's a greater sense of teamwork in the county among the various law enforcement agencies," said Lt. Col. Ron Hunton. "We're blessed in this county to have a great relationship with every law enforcement agency here."
Friends said the community has pulled together since the tragic murder.
"Despite when something bad happens, God can still turn clouds into rainbows," said Turcotte.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:28 PM EDT2013-06-19 22:28:05 GMT
A Woodstock police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after a police dog was left in his car and died of a heat stroke. The 3-year-old Spartacus, a Belgian malinois, was found dead insideMore >
A Woodstock police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after a police dog was left in his car and died.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:14 PM EDT2013-06-19 21:14:11 GMT
National Beef Packing Co., a Liberal, Kan., establishment, is recalling approximately 22,737 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The problem was discoveredMore >
National Beef Packing Company - a Liberal, KS, establishment - is recalling approximately 22,737 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 12:00 PM EDT2013-06-19 16:00:26 GMT
Police in Alpharetta seized 188lbs. of marijuana along Waters Run Drive after a resident complaint. Officers arrived at the unoccupied home and stumbled upon a large professional grow operation. AMore >
Police in Alpharetta seized 188 pounds of marijuana along Waters Run Drive after a resident complaint.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:39 AM EDT2013-06-19 15:39:58 GMT
Let's face it. When Prancercise was released in 1989, it was too far ahead of its time for people to appreciate. Nearly 25 years later, we've all finally caught up and caught on … including John Mayer,More >
Nearly 25 years later, we've all finally caught up and caught on to Prancercise, including John Mayer, whose new video, Paper Dolls, pays homage to the fitness craze more than two decades in the making.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:20 AM EDT2013-06-18 12:20:27 GMT
Festival promoter Peter Conlon officially announced the September dates, music lineup and the addition of a third stage to Music Midtown 2013. The festival returns Friday, September 20 and Saturday, SeptemberMore >
Festival promoter Peter Conlon officially announced the September dates, music lineup and the addition of a third stage to Music Midtown 2013.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-06-19 22:21:02 GMT
Atlanta police officers were involved in a shooting around 3400 Lenox Drive NE. No injuries reported at this time. CBS Atlanta News has a crew headed to the scene. Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (MeredithMore >
An Atlanta police officer was involved in a shooting near Lenox Mall.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:45 PM EDT2013-06-19 00:45:28 GMT
Is a scooter gang targeting other newer scooters in southeast Atlanta? That is the question Sinan Sinharoy is asking after his SYM model DD50 scooter was stolen from his gated parking lot and replacedMore >
Is a scooter gang targeting other newer scooters in southeast Atlanta? That is the question Sinan Sinharoy is asking after his SYM model DD50 scooter was stolen from his gated parking lot and replaced with an older scooter.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:28 AM EDT2013-06-19 15:28:50 GMT
Henry County police are searching for a man they say robbed a gas station early Monday morning.A man wearing a dark rain hat, large loose fitting dark T‐shirt over a bright blue shirt, black pants, whiteMore >
Henry County police are searching for a man they say robbed a gas station early Monday morning.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:23 AM EDT2013-06-18 13:23:30 GMT
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her. Jayden Sink raised nearly $200 on Friday while she sold lemonadeMore >
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her.More >