Carlin Davis’ mother, Amy, (bottom right) and others release balloons with love notes to her daughter attached. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/
Carlin Davis’ mother, Amy, (bottom right) and others release balloons with love notes to her daughter attached. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/
Friends and family gathered Saturday night to honor a teenager who was remembered for her love of taking selfies and making others smile.

About 40 people attended a memorial service for Carlin Sarah Davis at the Trimble County Park, including several Trimble County High School classmates still trying to come to terms with her sudden death.

Carlin was fatally shot by her aunt's ex-boyfriend July 19 in her Trimble County home.

Those in attendance shared memories of the 16-year-old and attached hand-written notes onto pink and white balloons during a balloon release at the end of the service.

Brianna Tucker remembered meeting Carlin at the beginning of the school year when Carlin moved into the school district from Cincinnati. After just a few days, the two girls had become close friends.

"We were best friends," Brianna said. "It's going to be so hard. She was so fun."

Brianna introduced Carlin to her group of friends, and everyone in the group soon became close with the new student.

Zhoe Westrick said she and Carlin would often discuss their love for pop-punk music. Zhoe said not many others at school shared their tastes in music, and the two became friends because of the connection.

Others remembered Carlin as a girl who was always happy and helped to cheer others up during the school day. Cheyenne Webster and Hannah Starks couldn't remember a day when their friend wasn't smiling.

"She was a bubbly person," Cheyenne said. "She always walked into the high school with a smile on her face."

"Anytime you saw her, you just gravitated toward her," Hannah said. "There's not a day she didn't smile. She made me smile."

Even if Carlin was aggravated about something, it wasn't for long. Something would be said that would cause somebody in the close group of friends to laugh, and that was all it would take to cheer the teenager up.

"One of the things that's going to be so hard to get over is her laugh," Cheyenne said, noting Carlin had a laugh like no one else.

Even as the girls shared memories of their friend, it still hasn't sunk in that she wouldn't be returning in a couple of weeks for her junior year at Trimble County High School. Friends said it will be difficult when she isn't in the hallways between classes or in the cafeteria.

Most of the girls received word of Carlin's death through a phone call the day of the shooting, but several thought it was a horrible prank. Social media posts and news reports verified the call, but it still doesn't seem real, Hannah said.

"I never, ever thought this would happen in my community," she said.

Cheyenne agreed, noting news reports of murders and shootings in larger cities all the time.

"You hear things like this happening in Louisville," Cheyenne said, but not in Trimble County.

Tom Starks, Trimble County Sheriff's Deputy and Trimble County's school resource officer, said the murder-suicide that took Carlin's life affected the entire community.

"Everybody's life in this room forever changed last Sunday. For a lot of you young people, life became real," Starks said. "Our community is forever changed. That Mayberry feel is no longer."

He talked about Carlin's infectious smile and the joy she brought to others around her. He also remembered the teen who, like many others, was always taking photos with friends on her cell phone.

"She had a magnetic smile," Starks said. "I don't think I saw anyone take so many selfies."

During the service, he asked everyone to take out their cell phones and take a selfie in honor of Carlin.

"The next time you take a selfie, remember Carlin," Starks encouraged the crowd.

Friends and family tied the notes they had written to balloons following the memorial service. The pink and white balloons flew high into the sky, helped by a southeastern breeze, carrying the memories and messages of love toward the heavens.

While the ones left behind still struggle to understand why, Starks asked the crowd to reach out to one another to share the good times and to work through their grief together.

Cheyenne said she clings to her faith in God for understanding her friend's death.

"I know God did this for a reason," she said. "He needed her more than we did."