Hundreds in community gather for vigil of 11-month-old found dead

Vigil to remember Harlee Lewis
(Amanda Foster | WBTV)
(Amanda Foster | WBTV)
Courtesy of friends of Lewis family
Courtesy of friends of Lewis family
Courtesy of friends of Lewis family
Courtesy of friends of Lewis family
Courtesy of friends of Lewis family
Courtesy of friends of Lewis family

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - Strangers in Chesterfield, South Carolina are bonding as they process the death of an 11-month-old baby. Harlee Lewis who was found dead in a diaper box in her back yard just last week.

"I wish I had not seen what I saw that day," Chesterfield Sheriff Jay Brooks says.

Brooks' team found the child dead in the back yard of her mother, Breanna Lewis.

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"Anytime a call goes out about a child being hurt or whatever, every officer, all they can see is the face of their child," Sheriff Brooks added.

Though many did not know the child or her mother, hundreds of members from the community felt impacted by Harlee's death and decided to pay their respects by joining a candlelight vigil that included prayer, poetry, music and a moment of silence.

The Chesterfield County Pee Dee Coalition, which tackles domestic abuse and sexual assault cases organized the memorial event.

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"The community outreach has been amazing and just seeing people who didn't even know her, they want to come and honor her so I just think it's wonderful," Pee Dee Coalition coordinator Stacey Short says.

Community member Gina Price traveled 45 minutes to be at the vigil because she said this story impacted her greatly.

"It touched my spirit and it made me feel that there's more that I can do…there's more that we all can do," she says.

The cause of baby Harlee's death is still unknown. The sheriff's department is hoping to receive an autopsy report with a cause of death by the end of the week.

Friends of the child's mother told WBTV off camera Wednesday that they held a separate, private funeral for Harlee in addition to the vigil.

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