Thursday, July 6th marked five years since Skylar Neese was murdered. Thursday evening, not only did family and friends gather to remember her and the legacy she leaves behind, but so did a community.

“A celebration of her life, a celebration and legacy of her smile, her laughter,” said Monongalia County Commissioner, Tom Bloom. 

Rather than making the 5th year anniversary of Skylar Neese’s death a somber day, family and friends gathered to remember all of the joy that she brought to their lives at a vigil in the parking lot in University Towne Center’s Wal-Mart.  

“Skylar touched so many people in so many different ways and the biggest thing about it is we just don’t want people to ever forget the story, or Skylar. She was an amazing young lady and she was an amazing person and that’s what all of this is about,” said Dave Neese, Skylar’s Father. 

The gathering was similar to one held when Skylar went missing. 

“What we tried to do was reenact what we did five years ago when we first were looking for her, and we were in a circle and everyone got to speak and everyone got to speak and everyone got to talk and share their feelings,” said Tom Bloom. 

The lanterns symbolized Skylar’s love for the environment and are made out of biodegradable materials.

“So when they are released and they burn, they will biodegrade and they won’t mess anything up. Balloons she didn’t like because it would hurt the fish and the animals and the plants,” said Carol Michaud, Skylar’s Aunt. 

Community members are also celebrating Skylar’s Law which is now in effect in West Virginia. 

“Skylar’s Law is huge because it speeds up the Amber Alert and every minute when a kid is missing is valuable.”

“I just really miss her and she was taken too soon. You know, we’ve missed so many things and so many milestones in her life that it’s hard but just thinking of her giggle and stuff, it makes you laugh and smile. So you just think of how she always was and not the bad part of it,” said Carol Michaud.