They had hoped beyond hope that little April Jones would be found safe, but the five year old’s family, friends and neighbours are now accepting that she will probably never come home.
About a thousand people gathered at Machynlleth, the small, rural town in Wales where April was last seen a week ago. Marching in unity, they passed the lolly shop, toy store and library, places April frequented and cherished, The Guardian reported.
They wore pink ribbons, which is what April's parents asked people to wear last week as a symbol of hope. But while the young girl has not been found hope is fading and the consensus in the community is that she is dead.
They marched until they came to St Peter's Church, which was already full.
Mourners poured out the church doors and into the grave yard, where they listened to the bishop of Bangor, Andy John, speak of how the community faces a "journey" to recover from what has happened.
John told the congregation that April was in the "strong arms of God".
While acknowledging that there was no hope of finding her alive, John said the community still wanted her home. He thanked the community for their compassion and determination to find her.
April's parents were too upset to attend.
A family friend, Mark Bridger, 46, has been charged with April's abduction and murder and would appear before a UK court later today, The Guardian reported.
April was last seen playing with friends on the side of the street near her home before getting into a car on Monday evening, one week ago.
A huge search ensued and while mountain rescue teams were now being stood down, police have said that while there may be a change in resourcing, there would not be a change in the intensity of the search, The Guardian reported.
- © Fairfax NZ News