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Standing in the draining pool water running down the street, a helicopter hovering overheard, a feeling of dread set in. Hearts sank as a growing number of officers circled the pool. The Medical Examiner’s arrival was confirmation of an outcome no one wanted.

Larie Butler’s death touched so many people.

A typical teenager’s disappearance, a mother’s agony, a police department’s alarm and a desperate search united the community in compassion.

There were those ready to pounce if the police and media didn’t give Larie’s case attention. While “missing white girl syndrome” is well-documented, bias was never in play in this sad story. We now know police had evidence from the start leading them to believe Larie had been killed. We now know why police didn’t initially want her family to speak publicly, for fear of jeopardizing their search for the suspect and her remains.

More than a dozen investigators were working around the clock. They got to know Larie’s family. Finding her body was something they will never forget. “She looked like an angel,” a police officer said.

We won’t soon forget the anguish of Larie’s mother. Whose heart didn’t break when she thanked police and the community and questioned her own trust of a family friend?

The magnitude of this crime hasn’t set in. There are never answers to explain why. It’s a horrifying, sad story that touched us all.