Vigil honors Polly Ann Mitchell

Vigil honors Bluffton homicide victim

rlurye@islandpacket.comMay 15, 2014 

About 50 people huddled under a tent in front of Polly Ann Mitchell's Bluffton home Thursday night, many of their faces wet though they were shielded from the rain.

Family, friends and neighbors gathered to honor Mitchell, 70, who was slain Monday in her Buck Island Road home. They remembered the glow she seemed to emanate every day and the smile with which she greeted friends and strangers alike.

She wore that smile at a Mother's Day cookout, when she surprised her neighbors by showing up in a different outfit -- but no less immaculate -- outfit than the one she'd changed out of. She considered a night to celebrate family a special occasion, several mourners said at Thursday night's memorial.

A portrait of Mitchell rested on a table beneath the tent, lined with tea lights. It also appeared on T-shirts worn by a few dozen men and women. The shirts also offered a poem by Mahatma Gandhi that rebuked the manner of Mitchell's death, which has been ruled a homicide.

My religion is based on truth and non-violence.

Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him.

Police are investigating whether Jerry Manigault, a Hollywood man in custody in Charleston, is involved in Mitchell's death, but no one mentioned him by name Thursday evening.

They spoke instead of finding a way to get back to a stronger community, the kind Mitchell deserved, they said.

"I know Polly's with God," Derrick Pinckney said. "He's in her arms now, and he's got her. So now the rest is for us to take care of us."

Residents must look out for each other again, said Doreen Green, like bygone days when women prepared meals at the Buck Island Road baseball field for the men cleaning the neighborhood from end to end.

"Take your community back," Green said, echoing the words printed on the back of each Polly Ann Mitchell shirt. "It could have happened to any of us."

At about 10 p.m., Mitchell's granddaughter, Monique Bryant, who lived with Mitchell, spoke from the center of the tent.

"The fact that my home is not a home anymore, it kills me," Bryant, 20, said. "But I am happy to see you all here. And my grandma would be so, so happy."

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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