Many people in Evansdale and beyond continue grieving for cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. One local woman was impacted by not just that tragedy--but also the murder of her own granddaughter.
Lindsay Nichols was killed in Jesup March 21st. Her ex-boyfriend, Dr. Timothy Roses, shot Nichols, then turned the gun on himself.
Despite both tragedies, Nichols' grandmother has stayed strong - guided by community support and her faith.
Service at New Life Fellowship might look and sound pretty typical. But those in its congregation have been through a lot this year. Over the summer, the church building they called home shut its doors.
"They'd just run out of money and we had to close the church," said Jurly Nichols.
But the small congregation was determined to stay together. So Nichols' family bought a former Evansdale video store, and this fall, it re-opened as New Life Fellowship.
"What a joy to know there's somebody who's committed to being involved in their church home, and not wanting any part of the body of Christ to die out," said Rev. Larry Doughan.
For Nichols, continuing to have a place to worship was critical after the tragedies she's endured over the past year. In March, her granddaughter Lindsay Nichols was murdered.
"Terribly devastated about that, and it was just too much to handle," said Nichols.
Her heart still aches just thinking about Lindsay, especially at Christmas, which was her granddaughter's favorite time of year.
"We know where she's at. She's in heaven. I have a little sign hanging up in my house. It says, 'If somebody you love is in heaven, you have a little bit of heaven in your home,' and I like that," said Nichols.
On top of losing Lindsay, Nichols has also been touched by the loss of Elizabeth Collins. Nichols and her husband live near Meyers Lake in Evansdale, where Elizabeth and her cousin Lyric Cook were last seen. Before Elizabeth's disappearance and tragic death, she'd personally gotten to know her.
"That's just devastating, too. She was my little granddaughter, great-granddaughter's, best friend and just a beautiful little girl, beautiful smile. She loved to talk. It was just fun watching her," Nichols said.
Despite all she's lost, Nichols says she's gained new perspectives: cherishing each day, and living life to its fullest.
"I don't think we'll ever get over it. But we have to go on, and the Lord's going to help us go on. And I think that's where we draw our strength," said Nichols.
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