Balloon launch celebrates slain Ohio 3-year-old after killer’s execution

Relatives who couldn't attend were urged to set off balloons wherever they were in honor of Sheila Marie Evans

LAKE MILTON, OH (WKBN/AP) – The family of a young girl slain nearly 25 years ago held a balloon launch Saturday afternoon to celebrate her life days after her killer was executed.

Ronald Phillips died by lethal injection on Wednesday at the Lucasville state prison for the 1993 rape and murder of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, Sheila Marie Evans.

The celebration was held at 3 p.m. at Vaughn Cemetery in Lake Milton, where her family is originally from.

Dozens of balloons were released in memory of Evans.

Evans’ half sister, Renee Mundell, said the week was a roller coaster of emotions.

“One minute is sad because of what happened, the other minute it is up because we can honor her after waiting for 24 years,” she said.

Phillips was sentenced to death after his confession in 1993, but the execution date was delayed several times until Wednesday.

“We were glad the governor and the Supreme Court let it go. Wednesday was justice for her,” Mundell said.

The family paid their respects at Evans’ pink gravestone, cut in the shape of a teddy bear.

The family also asked the community to launch a balloon at 3 p.m. in Evans’ honor, and to then share photos of the balloons to their Facebook page, Justice for Sheila Marie.

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