WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - It was an emotional evening as loved ones honored Julia Mudgett in a candlelight vigil.
"Many members here were very close to Julia," says James Freston, a close friend and director of public affairs at the church. "It has been difficult because of the uncertainty."
Friends say Mudgett attended church regularly and sat in the same seat every Sunday. Ana Meyer, who has known Mudgett for almost 20 years, says she's holding out hope for a friend who always turned to her faith.
"Part of me wants to believe that she's ok, she's going to come back, but, at this point, I just pray that God's will will be done."
Freston visited with Mudgett weekly for about seven years. He says the new details in the case are very disturbing. He says it's painful to imagine anyone hurting "Ju Ju," as she is affectionately known.
"If she were to pass silently in her recliner chair, where we used to meet with her and she would sit in a reclining chair and we would give her a lesson during home teaching, that would be one thing. A life beautifully lived and ended beautifully, and she's in a better place. The idea she may have been harmed obviously is very difficult to understand and to swallow."
"If there was something that had happened to her that we might think it was horrific that she was not going to feel that pain anymore," says Meyer.
While the details that are difficult to hear, it's not what her friends will be thinking about as the case unfolds.