POINT PLEASANT — Those with grieving hearts gathered together in prayer to honor a young woman whose life was taken away from her in 2007.
This week, the Grace Baptist Church held a prayer vigil for Leah Nicole Hickman. Individuals who had known Hickman during her 21 years of life came out to speak on her behalf. David Grigsby was the host of the evening to introduce each speaker and explain the personal relationship they shared with Hickman.
“I am honored my church family is having this prayer vigil,” said Leah’s father Ron Hickman.
Jade Schultz, the church secretary, said the event was a positive turnout and came together very well.
Pastor Jonathan Pinson opened the ceremony with the reading of Leah’s obituary.
“Friends and family we’re gathered here today ten years after that obituary was written and ran in the papers here and in Huntington to celebrate the life and honor the life of Leah Nicole Hickman,” said Pinson.
Letters from Leah’s longtime friend Tiffany Hussell and the Mayor of Huntington Steve Williams were read aloud by Jade Schultz and Jon Schultz.
Hussell mentioned in her letter read by Jade Schultz, “Leah had one of the most beautiful personalities of anyone I had ever met.”
Hussell shared a memory she has never forgotten in her letter. One day she was feeling downtrodden and Leah switched the perspective on her day by paying her a heartfelt compliment. Hussell now works at Marshall University in the forensic science department and mentioned how the staff within the program teach and speculate on Leah’s case.
Williamson mentioned in his letter read by Jon Schultz, “I promise you that just as you remain vigilant in bringing attention and awareness to Leah’s unsolved murder, the Huntington Police Department will remain equally committed.”
Grigsby then introduced Letha Queen who performed for the audience, “It is Well With My Soul.” Queen is a current member of the congregation and witnessed Leah grow through the years while she attended Grace Baptist.
Pastors Matthew Dotson, Jeff Reed, and Jamie Watts all led guests of the event in prayer for comfort and support of Leah’s family and friends, for the conviction and repentance of the guilty party, and for advancements in the investigation.
“I’ll never forget that Sunday night when Ron came to the house,” said Watts.
Watts shared that certain events forever stay with a person and he prays that the investigation for Leah will take speed again, so the hearts’ and minds’ of those in pain may be consoled.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.