Just hours after the charges for a man accused of murdering his 19-day-old girl were announced, dozens of Santa Clarita Valley residents gathered at a candlelight vigil to support the victim’s family.
Nearly 100 people gathered at Old Orchard Park in Newhall around 6:30 p.m., including family members, friends and complete strangers who wanted to show their support and remember the child.
“The support has been amazing from the community,” said April Gunkel, who is a close friend of the infant’s mother, Tawni Wallis. “We really thank everyone for coming out and even the hugs they have been donating have been amazing.”
At the vigil, people lit white candles and placed them around a picture of the victim, Ellorah Warner.
The crowd sang songs and Wallis was given hugs by people who were in attendance.
Matthew Warner’s mother, Victoria Thomson, was also at the vigil and shared a warm embrace with Wallis.
“Anybody that’s going through a loss is going to do the best that they can,” Gunkel said. “Being with her friends and family right now is the most important.”
Warner, 30, of Newhall, was charged with murder of Ellorah Warner, his 19-day-old child, as well as assault on a child causing death, torture, oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years or younger, and aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The alleged sexual assault and murder occurred Friday, according to the felony complaint.
Warner led detectives to the area where the victim was Saturday morning, according to Lt. Holly Francisco, the homicide detective leading the investigation.
Wallis chose not to speak to any media during the vigil.
– Evan Stevens