Community hopes candlelight vigil brings home Weatherford teen


WEATHERFORD, Okla. — More than 200 Weatherford residents gathered at Rader Park Sunday evening to hold a candlelight vigil for missing teenager, 16-year-old JaRay Wilson.

Wilson left her parent’s home on Oct. 7. 

She told them she was going to church with a friend but then later called to say she wasn’t coming back home because she wasn’t happy with her curfew.

Her parents said she stayed with different friends over the next week but stayed in contact by phone calls and texts.

They said the last text came from her Oct. 14  and there’s been no contact since.

“Imagine the worst thing you can think of and it’s worse than that,” Jara Wilson, JaRay’s mom, said. “Not knowing is the worst thing in the world.”

JaRay’s parents contacted the Custer County sheriff Oct. 15 and officials developed leads that led them to believe JaRay is a victim of human trafficking.

“It’s the most awful thing to think about your little girl going through,” Jara Wilson said. “I just can’t imagine how people can do that to little kids.”

JaRay’s friends at the candlelight vigil said it has other teens in the town scared.

“Not knowing where she is and just knowing that she might not be OK, just it’s scary,” JaRay’s friend, Marissa Flood, said.

Lezley Bell has a daughter JaRay’s age and she said she felt compelled to organize the candlelight vigil.

“It’s pretty scary to know that it’s happening anywhere in Oklahoma,” Bell said.

JaRay’s parents said they just want their daughter safely back home.

“We miss her no matter what she thinks, no matter what somebody’s told her,” Jara Wilson said. “She knows we love her with all our hearts and we just want her to come home.”

The entire community is shaken by the teen’s disappearance and her parents hope the candlelight vigil makes a difference.

“That’s just getting, you know, that many prayers going at once,” parents, Jara and Rodney Wilson said. “We hope that brings her home.”

Custer County Sheriff’s deputies took 37-year-old Gilberto Paz into custody on Saturday.

They said he has links to human trafficking in Oklahoma and they’re calling him a person of interest in JaRay’s case.