Lufkin gathers, prays at vigil for family of man missing in Neches River

Lufkin gathers, prays at vigil for family of man missing in Neches River

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The Lufkin community gathered at a vigil for a Lufkin man whose body went missing a week ago.

The car 23-year-old Markus Smith was riding in left the road and crashed into the Neches River last Saturday. The Texas Parks and Wildlife diving team were not able to locate Smith's body. Saturday morning, his family and loved ones displayed at a vigil that Smith might be gone, but he is not forgotten.

"Father God, I ask that you will be their joy in the midst of sorrow. Be their hope, Oh, God," prayed Pastor Vernon Austin of the Church of the Living God.

The family prayed for peace and cried out for closure. Those were the desires deep in the hearts of Markus Smith's loved ones.

"It's hard to lose a loved one when you know something is wrong, but it was an unexpected death on top of a lot of unanswered questions," Austin said.

The family gathered to pray for strength through a tragedy that left a weeping mother without her son and no answers to his whereabouts.

"We need to bring about peace within this family," Austin said. "We need to wrap our arms around them and support them as much as we can."

Support for that family was certain. Lufkin officials were also there offering comfort to the family at any hour.

"When one hurts, we all hurt. We're all a part of this community," Austin said.

"No matter what may come, God's will will be done," said Sandra Jones, a friend of the family.

Tears fell as powerful words of encouragement were delivered to Markus's loved ones.

In a poem Jones dedicated to Smith's mother, she wrote, "Mom, it's a hard thing when it comes to loving your child, whether they are two weeks old or 60 years old. A mother's heart will never stop loving a child."

As family members gazed into the rapid river that seemed to hold a piece of their heart, they were asked to trust.

"Family, trust Him now with all your being, all your hurt, all your anger, all your sadness, all your love. Just trust Him," Jones said.

Though the drag net search to find Smith's body was called off, authorities said they are still working to locate him.

Copyright 2015 KTRE. All rights reserved.