From Tragedy Springs New Hope

By Megan Trent

January 2, 2012 Updated Jan 2, 2012 at 9:42 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indian's NewsCenter) - A handful of Fort Wayne residents gathered at Destiny Life Center in downtown Fort Wayne on Monday for a community healing service.

The goal of the service, organizers say, was to help heal the hearts of people devastated by the death of 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon. Lemmon was brutally murdered in Northway Mobile Home Park just days before Christmas.

Family friend and convicted felon, 39-year-old Michael Plumadore, now sits in the Allen County jail, charged with killing and dismembering the little girl.

Indiana's NewsCenter also recently discovered that Lemmon was sexually assaulted in Iowa in 2010, when she was just 7-years-old.

Community members at Monday's healing ceremony say despite this horrible tragedy, the Summit City is still a good place to raise a family.

Starr Golden, service organizer and volunteer at Victory House, says, "It's not a bad place to live. There may be tragedies all over the world, but if we hold together and stand as one, we can make a lot of things happen and a lot of differences."

Pastor Patti Jimerson says the community needs to do a better job of standing up for those in need. "We missed the clues along the way. I don't know if sometimes we're too busy, or we just have our own agendas, but there are many signs every day to let us know people need help."

Pastor Linda Kluczinske agrees, saying, "The best way to do this and to provide some healing is to come together and pray and forgive - not necessarily the act, but to move on and learn something from this as we come together as a community."

The ceremony concluded with a balloon release in Lemmon's memory.

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