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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Candlelight glow fills Norris Park

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A speaker offers words of comfort and prayer to Kelly and Nora Clapp and their daughter, Karen, left, and son, Nick, right, after the death of their daughter and sister, Kailee Nicole Clapp. Hundreds of friends held lighted candles during a vigil in Norris Park Tuesday evening, and were moved to tears by the message of the song, "I Can Only Imagine," sung by Roger Cooper of Alton, Kansas.
McCOOK, Nebraska -- To a family stricken with unfathomable grief and to a community shaken by anger and a feeling of helplessness, the warm glow of hundreds of candles lighting McCook's Norris Park Tuesday evening offered a promise.

A promise of friendship, of comfort, of a hug.

A promise that the life of Kailee Nicole Clapp had purpose.

A promise of healing in the arms of God.

A promise that Kailee, whose life was senselessly snatched from her and her family, is safe within the arms of God.

Kailee Nicole Clapp, 14, died after she went missing from her McCook, Nebraska, home between the time she went to bed Thursday evening and when she should have been getting up to go to school Friday morning.

An 18-year-old Bartley, Nebraska, man has been in custody since late Friday in connection with Kailee's disappearance and death. Stathis Sebastian Mobley Kirkpatrick will be arraigned Thursday at 11:30 a.m., just one hour after Kailee's family and friends say their final goodbyes at a memorial service in McCook's Memorial Auditorium.

Charges against Kirkpatrick are pending the results of an autopsy on Kailee's body, found late Friday on property of the Bartley Cemetery.

Family and friends gathered Tuesday evening for a candlelight vigil, hoping that grief and sorrow shared are lessened ... somehow more bearable.

Terry McCorkle of McCook told the 500 or so gathered in Norris Park, "We're coming together to wrap our arms around each other. We've come together to be set free of fear and anger."

McCorkle continued, "Jesus will set us free, just as he set Kailee free of her pain and anguish. She's safely in the arms of Jesus tonight."

While McCorkle's message assured the family that Kailee now knows the glories of Heaven, those left behind with their earthly fears and confusion can only imagine. Roger Cooper 's message of comfort came through in the words of the song, "I Can Only Imagine." He prayed for her family, and thanked God for the girl who influenced so many people, despite her young age, her short time on earth.

As the candles were extinguished, Kailee's family offered red and white roses, "a symbol of Kailee's love and spirit."

Another candlelight vigil is planned today, from 6-7 p.m., at the American Legion Hall, 1850 W. Fourth Street in Colby, Kansas.

Kailee's memorial service in McCook will be Thursday, at 10:30 a.m., in McCook's Memorial Auditorium. Inurnment will be at a later date.

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