Community mourns deaths of aunt, niece


Pickens County residents came together to remember Claudette and Rebecca Purry on Monday night.

Both women died last week after police say Rebecca Purry’s ex-boyfriend shot Claudette and kidnapped Rebecca. 

More than 100 people gathered at Griffin Ebenezer Baptist Church in Pickens, where both women were members. 

Rebecca Purry, 28, was found dead Saturday with an apparent gunshot wound, according to Pickens Police. Also found dead was Marco Vaught. Police said Vaught was her ex-boyfriend and had kidnapped Rebecca days earlier. 

Deloris Robinson, the paternal grandmother of Purry’s three young sons, takes care of the two oldest children. 

“It hurts…I hurt for my grandsons,” Robinson said. “I wake up in the morning thinking it’d be a dream. I look on the news…I see a real occurrance of what happened.”

On the day Purry was kidnapped, police said her captor shot her aunt Claudette Purry, 54, who later died at the hospital. 

“She was such a sweet person…never bothered anybody,” said her friend Bernice Wakefield. 

The loss of both women has shocked people in Pickens County. In response, a vigil was held to pray for hurting, healing, and unity. 

“It was just necessary that we come together to try to have the hurt and the healing process to take place because of the tragedy,” said Carl Allmond. 

The community lit candles in rememberence of Rebecca and Claudette Purry and pledged to be there for each other during this time of need. 

“I feel like some relief you know now because everybody was so sad here in this town,” Wakefield said. “We didn’t know how to deal with this. It felt so good to everybody. It was like everybody showing some support about what we was going through.”

If you are struggling with domestic violence, call 1-800-291-2139 for help. 

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