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Memorial for Mariah Woods grows to levels nobody said they could have expected

(Greg Payne, NewsChannel 12 photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - Another vigil for 3-year-old Mariah Woods was held for Tuesday at the site where a massive memorial in her honor has grown to levels nobody could have expected.

Linda Cledenin echos the thoughts of an entire community swept up in the grief of the death of Woods. For the second time, Cledenin is hosting a candlelight vigil. The first was to pray for Woods' return and the one Tuesday was to elp mourners grieve together.

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"There's just something about Mariah that just got to me," Cledenin said. "It's just heart-wrenching. And this child didn't deserve this and I just feel it deep down.

"In times of crisis or anything as horrific as this, people do come together. And it means a lot to this community that people are standing up and saying 'you know what, we can't take this kind of stuff, we need to do something about this'."

The memorial itself has grown so big that tents have been brought in to shelter the stuffed animals, photos, signs and other things dropped off in Woods' honor.

Angels Wiles said since Saturday, her phone continues to blow up with messages about the memorial she set up. She said items have come from all over the country and from places such as Japan and the United Kingdom. She said she never imagined the little sign would turn into what it is now.

"It's honestly hard to describe that taking one step to make that sign that the community and the entire country has come out in abundance to show this beautiful little girl how much we really do love her," Wiles said.

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