Memorial fund created to support family of Central High cheerleader

(Courtesy: Anesia McDonald)
(Courtesy: Anesia McDonald)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A memorial fund was created in order to help the family of a Central High School cheerleader who was found dead Tuesday.

(Courtesy: Anesia McDonald)
(Courtesy: Anesia McDonald)

Emma Walker was found at her home with a gunshot wound. A Maryville freshman football player, William Riley Gaul faces charges for first degree murder.

A crowdfunding page was set up to help Walker’s family. The donations will go toward a fund set up for Walker’s parents Mark and Jill at Regions Bank. Also, deposits can be made at any branch location.

To Donate: Emma Walker Memorial Fund

“On the pep rally day, she let me come and cheer with her and dance with her,” said friend Ashley Beets.

Beets brought balloons and flowers to the memorial next to Central High School’s football field.

“She’s my best friend,” said Beets.

Teachers at the high school are heartbroken over this loss.

“She was a leader both inside and outside the classroom. Always had a smile on her face, just a beautiful soul and she’s going to be missed by a lot of people,” said Chris Hammond, a health science teacher at CHS.

While it will take time to heal, many are remembering the mark she’s left behind at the school.

“Her heart for other people, her love for other people, for kids, for classmates, for school, it’s just overwhelming,” said Hammond.

Principal Michael Reynolds stated:

“This has been a very difficult time for the family, students and staff. Our student was a wonderful young lady, a cheerleader and honor student with a promising future, whose life has been cut too short, too soon. At this time, our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with the family as they go through this grieving process. We thank everyone in our community for their tremendous support.”

On the crowdfunding page, family friend Aneisa McDonald wrote:

“Her fun, kind, sweet spirit was contagious. Emma was a beauty inside and out. Our community was blessed to know her. Her dream was to become a nurse.”

Related: Maryville College football player charged with murder of Knox County teen

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