More than 1,000 mourners gathered Saturday at a funeral for a Wal-Mart clerk whose chilling abduction was captured on surveillance videotape.
Friends and family remembered Megan LeAnn Holden, 19, as a beautiful, compassionate young woman known for her smile. Photos of Holden growing up — in her softball uniforms, at her sister’s wedding and being silly with friends — were shown on a large screen behind her coffin.
“To know Megan was to love Megan,” said Jeff Stanley, her former youth minister. “You couldn’t get to know her ... without falling in love with who she was.”
Holden had attended only one day at Tyler Junior College before she was abducted on Jan. 19 after finishing her night shift at the Wal-Mart. Her body was found two days later in a ditch 380 miles away in western Texas. Police said she had been shot.
Police arrested Johnny Lee Williams, 24, two days later at an Arizona hospital seeking treatment for a gunshot wound after a robbery attempt. He was driving Holden’s truck, police said.
Random abduction, authorities say
Authorities have called it a random abduction and said Williams did not know Holden. Williams waived extradition on Friday, clearing the way for him to return to Tyler to face charges.
The Wal-Mart surveillance tape shows a man standing outside the store entrance for nearly two hours before Holden was abducted. As Holden left, the man followed her to her truck, forced her inside and drove away, police said.
Authorities said that after the abduction, Williams drove west, robbing an Odessa convenience store Jan. 20 before trying to rob an Arizona RV park early the next morning. A store worker at the park fired the shot that wounded Williams.
Justin Luscombe, one of Holden’s cousins, said that at a relative’s recent wedding reception, Holden stood on his feet as they danced, giggling the whole time.
“She always made me smile. She always made me laugh. That’s how I’m going to remember her,” Luscombe said.