published Saturday, October 9th, 2010, updated Oct. 9th, 2010 at 5:05 p.m.

Parker niece: 'She was the glue in the family'

LaFAYETTE, Ga. —A quiet procession followed a horse-drawn carriage with Theresa Parker’s casket Saturday as family and friends walked the few blocks from LaFayette First Baptist Church to the city cemetary.

Saturday was the final chapter in the family’s long journey to bury Parke, the Walker County 911 dispatcher who went missing in 2007.

Community members huddled on opposite sides of the road and officers saluted as the former 911 dispatcher was taken to her grave site.

“This community has never given up on finding Theresa,” said Jon Wilson, Theresa Parker’s brother-in-law, said after the funeral. “In the wake of such a tragic ordeal which no family should ever have to endure, we could never express our gratitude. She’ll be remembered.”

To her nieces and nephews, Theresa Parker was another mom.

Niece Amanda Hill said she remembered her aunt being there to help celebrate every family event.

“She was the glue to the family,” she said. “She kind of pulled everybody together and make sure everybody was there and had a big family gathering.”

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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