Friends, family pray for Courtney in downtown Douglas - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Friends, family pray for Courtney in downtown Douglas

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 By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  The family of Courtney Hayes continues wait on word from officials as rescue crews found three bodies in the same hall Courtney Hayes was in when the Hotel Montana collapsed. The college student was on a mission trip to Haiti when the earthquake hit an hour after she arrived.

Search crews found several bodies over the weekend that could be Courtney and her classmates, but the family has received no confirmation.

 As candles burn, dozens of people can't stop thinking about Courtney Hayes. People gathered in Douglas Monday night on South Madison Avenue in front of her father's office building to send up their prayers.

"We're out here tonight to show our support regardless of what the news says," family friend Austin Hutto said. "We want her to come home to us."

Hutto helped organize the vigil where people had the opportunity to light candles and pray for Courtney and her family.

Douglas Floral and Gift shop donated candles and yellow ribbons in honor of Courtney. People also passed around a book to write down prayers and messages for her family.

As Coffee County Commissioner Frank Jackson lit a candle for Courtney he said he's known her family for years.

"I've worked with her family on many occasions and they're great people," Jackson said. "Coffee County has a lot to be thankful for. The entire county has been praying for this family. I'm proud to be here tonight to support these efforts these teenagers are doing here on the street."

Those who didn't know Courtney personally, like Ryan Hanna, showed up in honor of her and her family.

"I'm here mainly to comfort the family and to send up my prayers because prayer always helps," Hanna said.

Whether people knew Courtney or not , as the flames eventually burn out, their memory of her will never fade.

Courtney's uncle told WALB the bodies of three young women were found on the hall where Courtney was staying at the Hotel Montana.

Courtney and three other students and two faculty members from Lynn University were believed to have been trapped in the hotel after the quake.

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