Sunday, January 08, 2006

Vigil for lateesha

Vigil for LateeshaCHRISANTHI GIOTISFriday, 6 January 2006 They came from every corner of Dubbo and even from the Central Coast, they caught lifts with friends and neighbours - the foam cups around their candles were decorated with Lateesha Nolan's name and the date of her disappearance. By the time Lateesha's family arrived at the Tamworth Street carpark almost 200 people had gathered in the dusk - a show of solidarity and love that immediately touched the hearts of everyone in Lateesha's family. Lateesha's Uncle Ted Lancaster said later the "feeling of driving across the bridge and seeing all the cars was just overwhelming". "I only expected around 20 adults so to see over 150 people here was way beyond my wildest dream," Mr Lancaster said. The candlelight vigil for Lateesha Nolan held last night - on the one-year anniversary of her disappearance - began with emotion and solidarity. As the night darkened and the candles illuminated the faces of so many people pained by her disappearance the emotion grew. The message of the vigil - the need for more information - the need to find Lateesha, so her four children and her family can finally have some closure was repeated again and again. Tears overwhelmed Mr Lancaster as he began the quiet ceremony by reading a message from Lateesha's mother Joan Nolan. "If only we knew where you were to bring you home," Mrs Nolan wrote. Friends and family were told of Lateesha's "happy go-lucky nature" and how she was "generous to a fault". Lateesha's greatest fear was that her children would be involved in a car accident. "But what has happened now is far, far worse with no answers to the questions that eat away at you," Mr Lancaster said. "I'm sure that someone must know what happened to Lateesha. "I pray that they will make it their new year's resolution to ease their conscience and tell us what happened." By the time Lateesha's cousin, Kirsty Peachey, read the poem, Our Stolen Beauty, children were openly crying. Accompanied on guitar by Brandon Trautman, Ms Peachey said she missed her friend and cousin more each day. "Picturing you in my mind should I smile or should I cry, do I think of happy past times or of the months that have gone by," Ms Peachey said. from page one "I remember the talks we used to have - I knew it was you we could always trust," she said. "'Teesha you will live forever in your kids and in our hearts. You know that we all love you wherever you may be." Ms Peachey said that she was inspired to share her very personal poem at the vigil in the hope that someone will come forward with information. "I just hope people will see us all hurting and how much we are hoping to get a bit more information," Mrs Peachey said. Eight-year-old Kiana Peachey was one of the Children crying during the poem. "I do miss her and I dream about her nearly every night that she's come alive," Kiana said. Her nine-year-old cousin Khadijah Towney was also close to tears. "I felt really sad and I felt like crying but I tried to be brave," Khadijah said. Before the vigil took place Lateesha's family were worried that the ceremony might cause more pain for Lateesha's four young children, Kiesha, Erica, Jayden and Shaqkalia, but those fears were allayed by the number of people who came to share their pain. "At least the kids will have a positive memory of something," Mr Lancaster said. "The strength you brought just by being here tonight I hope we can keep it going to support Joan and the kids," he said. "We need that help to continue throughout the lives of the children."

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