VALLEY PARK, MO. (KPLR) - It`s been 10 years since FOX2 broke into programming to show you her photos, with the hope of finding Casey Williamson, who'd been abducted in Valley Park. It turned out she was violently attacked and killed.
On this anniversary, there is a renewed effort to make sure that is not the end of Casey's story.
She's forever frozen in our minds that smiling 6 year old. Cut Casey would now be 16. Her family and her school district are putting out a call for more donations to a scholar-ship fund in her name.
Her uncle, Jim Wideman, has written a letter for the cause.
'In the past 10 years, we`ve faced a long journey in learning to live without our little angel, Casey,' he read. 'Today as we reflect back, we celebrate Casey's life. Casey was an optimistic child with a glowing smile and a beaming personality. Casey walked through life with a bounce in her step and a smile always on her face.'
July 26th, 2002: St. Louis met Casey Williamson through photos; a bright little light, we`d never truly get to know.
Those photos - all over television - were part of the frantic search; her body found by day`s end not far from home.
Family acquaintance, Johnny Johnson, growing older on death row, now 34, was convicted of beating her to death after trying to rape her.
Those who knew her say Casey was exactly the little girl you`d think she was from looking at those photos; and like her classmate and friend, Mikaela Fox, Casey would now be 16.
'She went to school with us. We`re a close-knit group. Just because she`s gone, doesn`t mean she`s not still there with us in spirit,' Fox said.
Her family continues to honor Casey through a scholarship fund for kids in Valley Park who may have never known Casey; yet share her dreams.
The effort to will culminate with scholarships for the entire Valley Park High School Class of 2014, Casey`s class.
'I`m proud of all the kids. I want to see them go out and do great things in the world because I know they will just like she would have done if she had the opportunity,' said Casey`s aunt, Della Steele.
'It`s a good way to honor her. That way she`s still with us when we graduate. I hope even after that, people don`t forget her,' Fox said.
'If we could talk to Casey right now, we would tell her, we love you more than ice cream,' said her uncle Jim, concluding his letter.
One senior has received a scholarship for each of the past 10 years. There are enough funds now for only 23 students in Casey`s class, which has more than 60.
You can donate through the Valley Park School District at 1 Main Street, Valley Park, MO, 63088; attention Kathy Smith, 636-923-3690.
There`s also a website in Casey`s memory: rememberingcasey.org