GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As the investigation of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson's death continues, the community is making an effort to reach out to the family with love and support. Thursday evening, dozens of people gathered in front of the family's apartment building holding lit candles, singing, and lifting up prayers.
From volunteers searching overnight, to members of the community setting up makeshift memorials where Janaya's body was found, there's been a huge outpouring of support in Gulfport.
"We were out here last night looking for her also," Kristy Graves said. "It's kind of sad that you wake and see this in your backyard. It hits home. It's too close to home. It's just heart breaking. You never think it's going to be this close."
Kristy Graves and her family came out Wednesday night once they got word about a missing 5-year-old girl in their community.
"We have children out here that play and walks around, and it's just very heart breaking for the family. I feel sorry for the family. I cannot imagine what the family is going through right now," Graves said.
Graves said she felt at this time it was part of her job to come together, along with the dozens of others from her community, to show support.
"If it were our kids, I would want the community to come together for me," Graves said.
"Showing that there is a community of love and support and that we did care and that we were out and part of the search. We don't want credit, we don't want glory. Give all the glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, not us people. It's straight from the heart because I would want someone to do the same for me if that was my child," Renee Cuevas said. "There's no words to describe what they're going through, but we just want them to know that there is a community of love and support and if there's anything that anybody can do, just let us know."
We're told an account has been set up under Janaya Thompson's name at Hancock Bank for anyone who would like to make a donation to the family to help with burial expenses.
If you have any information about this case, call Gulfport Police at (228) 868-5959.