‘Devastated’: communities mourning murdered bride-to-be Stephanie Scott

CANOWINDRA’S Stephanie Scott was supposed to be walking down the aisle on Saturday.

But two days out from the happiest day of her life, a 24-year-old Leeton man has been charged with her murder.

His arrest followed a massive social media campaign to find the high school teacher after she failed to come home on Easter Sunday.

Helping to spread the word was Leeton’s Michelle Tweedale, who said her family was devastated by the news of her murder.

She said it was difficult to watch people speculate on social media about the reasons behind her disappearance.

“My 12-year-old son just hugged me and said ‘I don’t want to believe it’. She was his soccer coach at school and he knew the guy that has been charged,” she said.

“I have four sons that know her from school and the first thing they said was ‘Ms Scott is an amazing and beautiful lady that would help you out no matter what’.

“It was hard to watch Facebook and have people say she was a runaway bride when we all knew how excited she was to be getting married.

“Our hearts go out to Aaron and Steph’s family, we are all so lost for words at the loss of our beautiful friend and mentor. Our kids strived to like her and it is a cruel blow to our community.”

Sad news out of #leeton this morning. Feeling for the tight-knit community & all #teachers out there who are undoubtedly shaken by this.

— Erin Somerville (@erinbsomerville) April 8, 2015Posters with the former Canowindra High School student’s smiling face still fill shop windows on Gaskill Street as the town absorbs the news.

“In a town the size of Canowindra, it’s hard to think of a person who didn’t know her,” said one resident, who didn’t want to be named.

Leeton’s mayor Paul Maytom said he was still trying to come to terms with it.

“In the last few days everyone has just been talking about it in the town,” he told Fairfax Media.

“For her to mysteriously disappear like that, everyone was hoping she was going to be found, and found alive. We didn’t know what could have happened, and obviously I was not considering it would end up like this.”

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to assist the family in their search for Ms Scott and to bring her body home when it’s found.

The page, created by Mr Leeson-Woolley’s mate and co-worker Brad McKinnon, is hoping to raise $5000.

“The fund will help with the search, the helicopter expenses and any various support needed for the family,” Mr McKinnon said

“We have a set a target for $5000 but any donation would be great.”

To help Ms Scott’s family, click here.

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