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Dumas candlelight vigil for fallen teens

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Dumas, TX - It's been less than a week since tragedy struck our area Sunday (Mar. 10), taking five young lives in an instant.  And while the mourning period will never be over for some, the people of Dumas are finding comfort in the arms of their neighbors.

As the daylight faded into twilight this evening (Mar. 14), friends and neighbors gathered on the courthouse lawn to grieve as a community.  And in a community as closely knit as Dumas, everyone here feels the pain of loss.

Georgia Valencia knew October and Elizabeth Roys since they were little girls - they were even in Girl Scouts with her own daughter - and she knows what it means to lose a child.

"Cheryl and her girls were good friends of ours," said Valencia, "and when I heard the story, I kind of broke down, because I went through this before - I lost a daughter in '91, and it just kills me, but I know it kills her more, because she lost both of her girls at the same time."

But when grief is shared among many, there is comfort in solidarity and hope for better days ahead.

"It's sad but true - but people come together during times like this," said Frank Gordoa, a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Dumas.  "They put aside their differences and they come together as family, as community, and that's what we're seeing. And our hope is that out of this tragedy can come some good things for these families and for individuals that have lost their loved ones."

"I just want all the parents to go home and hug their kids," said Valencia. "I'm real protective of my daughter, and I just wish that this doesn't happen to nobody else again. It really kills the whole town."

The names of our fallen are:

Jacob Paul Stipe, 16 - Sunray

October Dawn Roys, 17 - Dumas

Elizabeth Kay Roys, 15 - Dumas

Derrek Lee Hager, 17 - Stratford

Christopher Lee Moore, 17 - Sunray

And while their loss will always weigh heavily in our hearts, a sense of community and fellowship will help share the pain and provide the strength we need to move forward.

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