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THE COMMUNITY: Security shattered

By Johnny Johnson Modified: June 10, 2008 at 12:37 am •  Published: June 10, 2008
Like many of the 1,000 or so residents of this Okfuskee County town, Mac Riddle has lived in Weleetka his whole life and never felt the need to lock his front door before going to bed.

That changed Sunday night.

Hours earlier, two girls, ages 13 and 11, were found dead in a ditch beside a dirt road that was less than a mile from one of their homes. Each had multiple gunshot wounds.

Riddle and his family didn't know what happened or why it happened, and didn't really know the young girls. All he and his wife, Marsha, knew was that they have a little boy who means the world to them, and the person who shot those girls was still out there.

Taylor Paschal-Placker, who just turned 13, and her friend, Skyla Whitaker, 11, were gone, and suddenly Weleetka didn't seem as safe as it did Saturday night.

"The whole town is just shocked,” said grocery store owner Tim Williams, who lives about a mile from the scene. "Stuff like this just doesn't happen around here.”

Williams said his daughter is scared — and while he set the alarm and locked the house Sunday, doing everything he could to make her feel safer — he's having a hard time with it himself.

"I can't believe anybody around here would have done this,” he said. "This is Mayberry. Everybody knows everybody. That's why we live here, and that's why we love it.”

Williams said he's never thought about leaving Weleetka. Guest book: Taylor Dawn Paschal-Placker Guest book: Skyla Jade Whitaker

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