Funeral for Toombs teen brings tears, questions

VIDALIA, GA (WTOC) - Teammates of Courtney Wilkes wore their Toombs County High soccer uniforms to her funeral to remember the girl who gave her all to everything she did.  Others called her a community leader in so many ways.

"Courtney was number one in her class, a great student. Very well rounded, she attended church, she played sports," said Chari Smith, a TCHS parent.

Folks covered Vidalia and Lyons in white ribbons to remember the 15-year-old girl killed last week while she vacationed with her parents in Florida. The crime has shocked everyone.

"I have a 16 year old. It could have been my child," said Cindy Hendrix, one of Courtney's teachers this past year. "This family was kind and caring and this child was too."

Even people who didn't know her stood reverently on the street outside First Baptist Church to show their support.

"If it was my child, I'd just want to know that people care to show up and support the family," said Brooke Fulmer, in a voice choked with emotion.

Maybe the most touching sight outside the service was the Walton County Sheriff's Office patrol cars, from the Florida community where Courtney was killed. Those investigators wouldn't talk about the case, just the heart break of it.

"We got to know this family from dealing with them after this offense occurred," said Major Graham Fountain. "We got to know them and they developed a special place in our hearts."
Some at the funeral said their hearts are broken by an evil that took an innocent girl's life and the innocents of their community.

"I feel angry. I'm a Christian woman but I feel angry. I feel the sense of loss for this family and for everyone," said Hendrix.

She said that loss will be felt for a long time. Meanwhile, the 21-year-old Florida man charged in Courtney's murder remains in jail.

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