Murdered Knox County cheerleader’s mother speaks about daughter, scholarship fund

Local News

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Fun-loving, lover of science, cheerleader, student, friend, daughter, sister… the list goes on and on. These are just a few of the ways Jill Walker describes her daughter, Emma.

“She was so kind and had so many friends. Sometimes you don’t always know those things firsthand, but hearing from other people how kind and well rounded. She wasn’t a follower–she was a leader.” said Jill Walker.

Emma’s legacy, according to her mom, will be just that. Through Central High School, where Emma went to school, the Emma Walker Memorial Scholarship was established for a Central High School student with a 3.0 GPA, who was planning on entering the health science field.

Investigators believe William Riley Gaul shot into Emma Walker’s bedroom while the teen was sleeping. Walker, 16, was a cheerleader and student at Central High School. Gaul’s arraignment was reset from January 30 to February 13 in Knox County Criminal Court. He was released Monday on $1 million bond.Related story:Maryville College athlete charged with murder released on bond

At the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, a NICU room will be named in honor of Emma. Jill Walker says she dreamed of being a neonatal nurse.

“I just want people to remember her as just a fun loving girl.” said Jill Walker.

She said she knows Emma would have wanted her to be positive. To look at all of the beautiful memories created in their home and together as a family. But even still, Jill Walker is taking one day at a time.

“I don’t think about this time next year. Or this time tomorrow. For right now.” said Jill Walker.More online: Walker spoke with People magazine about her daughter this week

The Emma Walker Memorial Scholarship Dinner and Silent Auction Fundraiser will be held on Friday March 24, 2017 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Central High School Commons. The event will feature live music by The Young Fables.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by emailing Mr. Hammond, a teacher at Central High School, via email at

Donations to the Emma Walker Memorial Scholarship can be made by mailing a check to Central High School, 5321 Jacksboro Pike, Knoxville, TN 37918, with the title of the scholarship.

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