Milan community remembers Ahniya Bryson


MILAN, Tenn. — Friends, family and Milan residents gathered Saturday afternoon at Milan City Park to remember the life of 19-year-old Ahniya Bryson.

“She lit up a room when she came in,” family friend Caretta Stewart said. “She always had a joke. There was never a dull moment around Ahniya. She always was just full of life.”

Those who knew her took the stage to share poems, songs, prayers and stories that reminded them of her. Ahniya was a cheerleader who graduated last spring from Milan High School.

“Not only did she trust me, but she trusted all of us, and literally we had to have her back. We held her up in the air. We were responsible for her, and it’s just an honor to know that we had that relationship with her,” said Catie Ing, past cheerleader at Milan High School.

As we first told you, Ahniya’s body was found May 7 in the driveway of a home in east Madison County. The sheriff’s office says they have yet to determine how she died.

People who knew Ahniya said they are trying their best to be strong for her friends and family — but they say it would help if they knew exactly what happened to her.

“My prayer to God is that God brings the light on what happened so that the family can get comfort and peace,” Stewart said. “She was such a bright young lady and to know her is to love her, so we just want to know what happened so we can get justice for Ahniya.”

Even a week later, many are still reeling from the shock of what happened.

“You’d never expect it, and especially to someone who had such a good heart and was so well known,” Ing said. “It’s just — it’s crazy.”

The main message of the Saturday prayer vigil was simple. “Ahniya, we love you. We miss you, and one day we’ll meet again,” family friend Ericka Adkisson said.

We spoke Saturday with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the agency leading the investigation. They say they are still awaiting Ahniya’s preliminary autopsy report, which they hope to have this week.

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