Gosnell, Arkansas, resident Paulette King says Jessica Williams, 11, visited her every day at her home just down the road.
"She called me her buddy and I'd say, ‘Alright little buddy!" says King, "I'd look for her. She'd come in the house and we'd talk."
The day she did not see her ‘little buddy,' she knew something was wrong, saying "She was supposed to come down here because she told me she would be. And I kept looking for her and Jessica didn't show up."
When she learned their neighbor Chris Sowell, 17, was charged with murdering Williams, King's heart sank.
"I loved that little girl just like one of my granddaughters. Why would somebody want to kill a little girl like her," says King.
Elizabeth Lowe, who is married into King's family, also visits the home often and remembers seeing Williams, recalling that she was always giggling.
"I don't know what it is about that little girl but she can make you smile," says Lowe, "I was praying she'd be alive and come home. And she didn't."
Lowe made a sign for the front of King's home, saying "I wanted everyone to know we loved her and she will be missed." The sign sits alongside the same road Williams walked to see her buddy. King says she will always miss Williams' "sweet laugh."
Sowell is charged with First Degree Murder in Williams' death; his bond is set at $2 million. He will appear in court again on Sept. 26.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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