GAS CITY — It was a tragic end in the search for a missing 10-year-old girl in Gas City.
Skylea Carmack's body was found early Wednesday morning in a plastic bag in a shed behind her home.
Skylea's stepmother, Amanda Carmack, has been accused and arrested for the strangulation and murder of the 10-year-old girl on Saturday night when she was reported missing.
Family and friends are left devastated with the loss of an innocent life taken away from them too soon. They remember the 10-year-old as a joyful kid.
"She was just happy, full of life," Alexis Scott, cousin of Skylea's biological mother, said. "And then you watched the life just kind of drain out of her. She became lifeless; she was sad. You could tell — see it in her eyes."
"Lively. Happy. She was so full of life," Brittani Flowers, sister-in-law of Skylea's biological mother, said. "Until Amanda took it away from her."
"She was just happy and full of life, a normal 10-year-old, just like a 10-year-old should be," Flowers said. "She didn't deserve this. There is nothing that she could have ever done to deserve this."
Questions remain of how this could happen to the little girl.
"Devastating, that poor baby. It's not fair. I don't understand," Scott said. "They have been hurting her this whole time. How a woman can just strangle a 10-year-old little girl and just watch her lifeless in her arms. It doesn't make any sense. And stay in the same house."
And those who were there for Skylea's life, like Holly Little, her former stepmother who says she raised Skylea until she was 8-years-old, will remember a little girl who loved tremendously and had much more life to live.
"You can ask any of the biological parents, or anyone else, I am her mother, I raised her, and I loved that little girl, and I have always been in her life," Little said. "Skylea was very sweet, and she found humor in everything. She smiled."
"She was loving throughout," Little continued. "She thought everyone was family."
State police say there were six other children in the home and they are all now under the care of the Department of Child Services.
Friends and family gathered at the Gas City Public Library on Wednesday evening for a candlelight vigil for Skylea. They say she loved spending time at the library.