KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — January 7 marks the 13th anniversary of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom’s deaths. Every year, the Shepherds RC holds a memorial in Christian’s honor at her gravesite.

Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were both brutally murdered back in 2007. The memorial service is a way for Channon’s family and friends, as well as members of the community, to gather in her memory.

There were prayers, scripture reading, and a balloon release. Gary Christian, Channon’s father, says the community’s response has been overwhelming.

“I get so many messages on Facebook. And as for the people, it did impact them. It impacted this whole city and the state.” Gary said.

This has been a long journey for the families of Chris and Channon. The final convicted murderer — Eric Boyd — was finally sentenced in September of 2019, bringing the 12-year ordeal to a close.

“I forgive the act. I forgive what they did. I forgive them for that. They took one of the most precious things in life away from me. I forgive them for that.” Gary said.