Vigil honors 3-year-old homicide victim Isabel Godfrey

Christopher Dornblaser

Friends, neighbors and community members gathered Friday evening near a makeshift memorial of balloons, candles and stuffed animals to honor the short life of a 3-year-old girl killed in her Chesapeake Estates home.

Three-year-old Isabel Rose Godfrey was allegedly killed by her mother, Regina Lester, who is in custody facing homicide and other charges.

But Friday's gathering was about Isabel.

"She loved like any child, pure and full," said Holly Grimm, of Heidelberg Township.

Grimm was among more than 100 people who came out Friday night for a vigil in memory of Isabel.

Those in attendance were given candles as they listened to the Rev. Dawn Spengler, of New Cumberland, lead the vigil.

 Sara Shaffer, Isabel's godmother, helped organize the remembrance.

"She was a wonderful little girl," Shaffer said.

She recalled a time when she took her daughter and Isabel to the park and took a picture of them together. The little girls were friends.

Shaffer said the vigil stirred her emotions.

"But mostly I hurt for the family," she said.

Shaffer said the support from the community has been good, and she was happy so many came out in memory of Isabel.

"I hope that the family can find comfort," she said.

Grimm was there wearing a shirt with a picture of Isabel on it. "R.I.P Bella" was written on the front, and  "Fly high baby girl" was written on the back.

Grimm said she had known Isabel since the little girl was born, and she remembers Isabel always dancing around, humming and singing.

The child's death has been devastating, she said.

"It broke a lot of hearts," Grimm said.

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Shaffer said word of the vigil spread via social media.

Christopher Gift, of Chesapeake Estates, said the number of people in attendance spoke volumes about the way Isabel's story resonated with the community.

"It was great to see everybody out to support this little girl," he said.

Gift described the neighborhood as close, and he said Isabel's death hit them hard.

"A lot of the kids are like a huge family in this community," he said. Gift has three children of his own, he said, and the tragedy has made him reflective.

Grimm, who used to live in Chesapeake Estates, reiterated that the support of the community, from the neighborhood and beyond, was heartening.

"It's something, it really is," she said. "You don't get love like this every day."

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.