The words of "Silent Night" permeated the area around the Centre County Courthouse as the group stood in a circle -- singing, crying and embracing each other -- to remember two missing women and to support their families during the holiday season.
The Centre County district attorney's office and the Centre County Women's Resource Center co-sponsored the vigil last night, to remember Brenda Condon, missing since February, and Josette Brungart, missing since June.
"I think it's important that this stays present in people's minds," said Dawn McKee, victim advocate at the Centre County district attorney's office. "It's important to stay supportive of the family. It's a very difficult time."
Condon's sister, Iris L. Myers, of Clearfield, said she doesn't feel like experiencing the jovialties of the holidays anymore while she remembers shopping for Christmas presents and baking Christmas cookies with her sister and their children.
"She has always been there to help," Myers said. "You just have to go on -- but you never forget."
Condon disappeared Feb. 27 from the now-defunct Carl's Bad Tavern on State Route 550, in Spring Township. The bar, where she had worked for two weeks, was unlocked, her car remained outside and her boots were found in the men's bathroom.
Brungart's sister, Mary Sappisk-Sprague, of Baltimore, began the vigil by thanking everyone for coming, saying that she could relate to the recently released hostages and their families.
Brungart disappeared early June 10 after a dispute with her husband, Bradley, from alongside state Route 64 in Walker Township. She was gone when her husband came to pick her up after finishing their paper route.
"Unlike the families of the hostages, we don't know where our loved ones are and if they're ever coming back," Sappisk-Sprague said. "We will never forget Brenda and Josette and we ask that you not forget them either."
"It's a big waiting game -- we want an answer," Sappisk-Sprague said. "We're coping but there's definitely a void in our lives."