Vigil For Murder Victim Begins Community Healing

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By Amanda Wade

Family and friends gathered tonight to honor the memory of a murder victim. Vettia Roche was brutally murdered at the restaurant where she worked, but people who knew and loved her say they are not focusing on her death, but her life.

 
Hundreds of people filled Vettia Roche's church including church members, co workers, and family members, all sharing memories, laughter, and few tears as they work to heal after tragedy. The vigil was more than mourning the death of a beloved community member. It was a celebration of her life and the joy Roche brought to those around her.
 
Brandon Howard, the Band Director Jeff Davis High School, says, "Her daughter was in the band. She was a hardworking parent. She was one of the ones that we could always count on. She was always there if we had band practice. She would even jump in there and play an instrument with the kids. She was very special to the program."
 
A fellow church member, Melody Jackson, recalls memories of Roche, "She came in and touched a lot of lives. Like everybody said, she was just a wonderful person to be around and we loved her. We loved Tia, and we're definitely going to miss her."
 
Authorities found Roche's body found last Monday morning behind the Taco Bell she managed. She had been beaten and shot to death. The pastor of her church, Consuming Fire Ministries, says Roche and her daughter became members around Thanksgiving and immediately became a part of what he calls the church family. He says he hopes the vigil will help the community begin to heal from the tragedy.
 
"Well it's hard. We were devastated, of course, and right now our concern is, of course, seeing that the daughter is taken care of and we want to cover her with as much prayer and love as we can, and just let her know that she still has a family," says Pastor Hoza Billups.
 
This was the chance for many of Roche's local friends and family members to say their goodbyes. The pastor says her funeral will be Friday in Pensacola.